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With an Introduction by 






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LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



Based on the story by Hans Andersen 

With an Introduction by 



the authors of the english version would like 

to acknowledge their indebtedness to mr. eugene 

schwartz and to his dramatisation in russian of 

"the snow queen" 

CA UTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned 
that THE SNOW QUEEN is fully protected and 
rights to it are reserved, including the right of repro- 
duction in whole or in part in any form, in the United 
States of America, the British Empire, including the 
Dominion of Canada, and all other countries of the 

All rights, including professional, amateur, motion- 
picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio 
broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation 
into foreign languages are strictly reserved. Par- 
ticular emphasis is laid on the question of readings, 
permission for which must be secured from the 

The amateur acting rights are controlled ex- 
clusively by Theatre Arts Books, 333 Sixth Avenue, 
New York 14, without whose permission no per 
formance of the play may be given. 

First published in Great Britain 195 1 
First published in U.S.A. i960 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 59-15639 




Printed in Great Britain for the Publishers by 
Butler and Tanner Ltd, Frome and London 




The Characters vi 

The Cast of the First Production at the Old Vic 

Theatre vij 

Introduction by Michel Saint-Denis ix 

Part One 

Prologue i 

Scene i Granny's Garret — Winter 3 

Scene 2 On the Road to the North — Next Autumn 1 9 

Scene 3 In the King's Castle — Half an hour later 25 

Part Two 

Prologue 41 

Scene 1 The Robbers' Tent — Winter 44 

Scene 2 On the Road to the North 60 

Scene 3 In the Snow Queen's Palace 62 

Scene 4 Outside the Palace 67 

Scene 5 On the Way Back — Early Spring 70 

Scene 6 Granny's Garret — Spring 75 

Music for the Play 84-5 


The Storyteller 
Gerda, a girl 
Kay, a boy, her friend 
The Chancellor 
Gerda's Grandmother 
The Snow Queen 
Karl, a Raven 
Klara, another Raven 
Princess Christina 
Prince Klaus 
The King 

The Robber Woman 
Wenki, her daughter 
Barbro, a Robber 
Olof, another Robber 
The Reindeer 

Robbers, Guards, Lackeys, Polar Bears 


First performed by The Young Vic company of The Old Vic 
Theatre, and produced in that theatre in 1948, with the 
following cast: 

The Storyteller 
Gerda, a girl 
Kay, a boy, her friend 
The Chancellor 
Gerda's Grandmother 
The Snow Queen 
Karl, a Raven 
Klara, another Raven 
Princess Christina 
Prince Klaus 
The King 

The Robber Woman 
Wenki, her daughter 
Barbro, a Robber 
Olof, another Robber 
The Reindeer 

Pierre Lefevre 
Christine Hearne 
James Wellman 
Duncan Ross 
Sheila Ballantine 
Jean Wilson 
Powys Thomas 
Ann Morrish 
Tarn Bassett 
Edgar Wreford 
Anthony Van Bridge 
Mervyn Blake 
June Vincent 
Peter Duguid 
Edgar Wreford 
Veronica Wells 

Robbers, Guards, Lackeys, Polar Bears played by: Shaun 
O'Riordan, Peter Retey, Peter Duguid, Jack Ralphs, David 
Woodman and Edgar Wreford. 

The Music specially composed by Henry Boys 

Decor by Motley 

Produced by Michel Saint-Denis and Suria Magito 



By Michel Saint-Denis 

ACTING for children, if it is undertaken in the wrong spirit, 
easily becomes a mockery. An audience of children is the 
most free, and, in many ways, the easiest in the world to 
please: a child is ready to accept everything; hence it is easy 
to take advantage of his credulity, to impose on him and to 
dazzle him. On the other hand, it is far from easy to win his 
confidence and to hold his attention on the action which 
takes place before him. A child is demanding: to keep him 
interested, that is to say attentive, he must believe in the 
story he is being told and must believe in it all the time. The 
field of his confidence knows no bounds, because he lives in 
a world of imagination. In his own games, he turns every- 
thing and everybody, beginning with himself, into instru- 
ments to give reality to his invention: thus a stool becomes 
a tree, a piece of rag is a sail, and he himself is the monkey 
or the explorer climbing the tree, the wind filling the sails or 
the sailor at the helm. Once the game has begun, the child 
plays seriously: his body, his voice are literally moulded by his 
imagination; he is very often terrified by his own inventions, 
and runs to his mother for protection from the lion of his 
own creation which is now chasing him — though at the same 
time he loves the danger of it. 

To make children act among themselves, and to act for 
them, are obviously very different tasks. In my opinion, it 
is not possible for children to act before an audience, however 
small, without its destroying an essential part of their per- 



formance. Success in acting for children lies in creating on the 
stage this faith in the reality of fiction which every child has 
experienced in himself and the joy and thrill of which he 
hopes to find again in the theatre. 

To achieve this, one must first, like the child himself, play 
seriously. By means of ingenuity and technical ability, of 
naivety and skill, the actors have to re-discover that spon- 
taneity which often makes a child a superb born actor. The 
production of a play like The Snow Queen depends pri- 
marily on the ability of the producer to kindle in himself and 
in his actors a childlike outlook, for if either he or the actors 
feel any embarrassment, the play runs the risk of appearing 
childish or of becoming over-burdened with complicated 

This play is a fairy tale. In it we find human beings whom 
we can recognise, and for whom, from the rise of the curtain, 
we feel sympathy. These are Gerda, Kay and the old Granny. 
With them, we are going to venture into an unfamiliar world, 
which will be disturbing and even rather frightening, because 
it is magic: the world of the Snow Queen, the Chancellor, the 
King, the Prince and Princess. With Gerda, we shall visit the 
lair of savage robbers who plunder and kill, and at each stage 
of her journey she will be helped on her way by animals far 
more sensitive to the trials and tribulations of humans than 
one might expect, for these animals, like the reindeer and the 
two ravens, are able to talk, and, although it is too cold for 
them to do anything but growl and croak, even the polar 
bears and birds can make us understand what their feelings 

This is all very well, you will say, but we are in a theatre. 
All these creatures and characters will want costumes; the 
action of the play goes from a garret to a king's palace, to a 


robbers' cave and so to the climax in the Ice Palace of the 
Snow Queen, before returning in the end to the garret — 
without counting the many scenes in the open air. The play 
calls for extremely mobile scenery. 

I admit the difficulties are great. At first, it seems impos- 
sible to stage the play without using some machinery for 
changing the scenery in view of the audience, or at least for 
making very rapid changes. It seems so important also to 
give an impression of the different roads, cross-roads and 
snow fields where Gerda gets lost on her journey. Then the 
seasons themselves change; Gerda travels from the relatively 
warm south to the frozen north, and, what is more, the play 
starts in the heart of winter, and ends with the coming of 
spring. We cannot help seeing the King's Palace as a grand, 
sinister place: this set should be high, so that the small Gerda 
is lost in its cold vastness. And what of the Palace of the 
Snow Queen, with its glittering stalactites, through which 
Gerda must pass, before she catches a glimpse of her friend 
Kay perched high on a throne of ice? She manages to melt 
his heart, to lead him away from the palace, and in an instant 
the palace disappears, to give place to the exit closely guarded 
by fierce animals. The change from one scene to the other, 
from the inside to the outside of the palace, calls for nothing 
short of a miracle. It seems that only the cinema could suc- 
ceed here, unless one had a revolving stage — with music, 
lighting effects, wind and snow to accompany the change. 
Thus the difficulties lead us to dream of using means which 
we do not possess — means which are in fact those of the 
pantomime whose magnificent transformation scenes en- 
chant us every Christmas. 

Such technical wonders often have children paralysed in 
their seats — I have seen them gaping, eyes popping out of 



their heads, and stupefied. But however much a show of this 
size dominates children, it does not touch them. It is as if they 
were faced with toys too complicated, too perfect, to be 
played with; yet if they play with them, they soon leave 
them alone; there is nothing the child can add to their 
inflexible perfection. Mechanical tricks amuse grown-ups: 
they astonish children, and often kill their imagination. 

How then, are we to retain in the production the simplicity 
and humanity of Andersen's story? 

The first character to appear on the stage is the Story- 
teller — Andersen himself. He has the idea of showing us a 
story instead of telling one — he is going to make it up as he 
goes along, and sometimes he may have to take part in it 

Let us imagine that he makes his first entrance in front of 
the house curtain which, at the end of his speech, will rise 
to reveal the garret. This set is made of low flats, and con- 
tains a door and a window through which presently the 
Snow Queen will make her entrance, bringing the forces of 
magic and evil into this homely atmosphere, for the garret, 
though poor, is warm and friendly. The space occupied by 
the garret set should be used for all the important scenes of 
the play: it is a sort of inner stage, framed by two side wings 
and a border, and may be concealed by runner curtains when 
required. There should be enough space left in front of these 
runner curtains for the connecting scenes along the road to 
be played fairly easily. The runners represent a winter land- 
scape, and will remain the same throughout the perform- 
ance, though the side wings can be reversed to suggest 
different places and seasons. 

The sets to be equipped on the inner stage should be 
simple enough to allow the changes to be carried out while 



the action takes place in front of the runners or during the 
interval, which comes after the scene in the King's Palace. 

I believe that if one plans the scenery on this principle, the 
second part of the play can also run without a break until the 
departure of the children from the Far North, provided that 
the essential piece of scenery for the Snow Queen's Palace is 
set during the interval, and the robbers' tent attached to it. 
I consider this essential piece to be the throne where Kay 
will sit, which should be solidly built in such a way that it 
can revolve upon itself, to become in the following scene the 
great block of ice through which the children have to pass 
before escaping from the domain of the magic queen. A few 
masking curtains and a few mobile stalagmites of varying 
heights will be enough to complete the illusion; lighting, 
music and sound effects will do the rest for this important 
section of Gerda's adventure. 

After as short a pause as possible, during which exciting 
and hopeful music will keep us from becoming impatient, we 
find ourselves in front of the runners again at the cross-roads, 
on the way to the south. The side wings now represent a 
rainy spring, free from the ice and snow of the far north. 
During this front scene, the garret is being set behind the 
runners, so that finally we are back once more in the warm 
familiar atmosphere created by Granny, free from the evil 
spells which have after all failed to gain the heart of Kay. So 
the Storyteller's improvised tale comes to a happy ending. 

I realise only too well that this simplicity calls for great 
ingenuity and a good deal of taste, and that it cannot be 
attained at the first attempt. One must proceed with patience, 
discarding anything which is false or cumbersome. The im- 
portant thing to remember is that the play as a whole should 
retain the character of a fairy story, and that only the garret 



set should give us an impression of familiar reality. The rest 
belongs to the realm of poetic fantasy. 

The same may be said of the costumes. The characters fall 
into two groups: those of the real world, the Storyteller, 
the Grandmother, Gerda and Kay; and those of the 
imaginary world, in fact all the others, from the Chancellor 
to the animals. 

The real people are dressed as our grandparents were— as 
we imagine them from pictures, photographs and daguerro- 
types of the Victorian age. 

The costumes for the imaginary characters are also derived 
from the same period; they show a certain social standing, 
and the Chancellor, the King, the Prince and the Princess are 
all dressed to give a general suggestion of the Victorian era, 
whose quaint and gracious style seems to us to suit the play 
very well. It is a northern Victorian style — clean, neat, a 
little prim, their hair is blond and their cheeks are glowing 
with the cold. The robbers are well muffled up in furs and 
skins, their heads covered. Nor should the animals be 
treated too seriously: the ravens are pompous and senti- 
mental, the reindeer is tender, timid, faltering, affected, the 
bears are massive and lonely, the birds rapacious and fear- 
ful. All these characteristics should be marked and wittily 

What more is there to say? It is always difficult to make 
a play from a book which has had no thought for the limita- 
tions of the stage. The task is made considerably harder 
when part of the book is fantasy, for fantasy knows no 
limits. The Snow Queen flys through the air, passes through 
the thickest of walls with a natural ease — and children like to 
see the impossible happen before their very eyes. But they 
want to be convinced and to believe in the illusion without 



understanding how it has been created. The strange thing is 
that they know there is a secret, a trick, and will ask innu- 
merable questions to find out what it is, though their curi- 
osity only increases their delight in accepting the impossible. 
We must not disappoint either their innocence or their sense 
of realism. 





As the house curtain goes up we hear an impudent little tune. 
Enter in front of scene-curtain the Storyteller. He is so ab- 
sorbed in what his feet are doing that he does not notice the audience. 
He is trying to do a little dance to fit the tune. 

Storyteller {out loud to himself as he dances): 
Snip! Snap! Snooper! 
Pooper, bazalooper! 
Snip! Snap! Snooper! 

Crippety! Crappity — Ugh! {As he fails to get 
the right step.) 
{He snaps his fingers and begins again.) 
Snip! Snap! Snooper! 
Pooper, bazalooper. {Quickening.) 
Snip-snap-snooper — 

Crippetycrappity — BOOM! {He succeeds with 
his feet.) 
{He hears the audience and slowly turns.) 

Oooh! People! . . . Thin ones. . . . Fat ones. . . . 
Old ones. . . . Young ones — short ones, tall ones, and 
some in between. {Looks at them.) You there, you go 
to school, eh? And you, huh, you, you are a teacher. 
And you are a mother and cook for your children. 
— And you are a busman. — And you an engineer. 
When you think of all the people in the world, and every- 
one doing something too, what a lot of doing it all adds 


up to! You see, I've also got a job; they call me Mr. 
Storyteller. I'm important too — for without storytellers 
there would be no good stories — good stories! Ah! 
{Settling down.) Now I'm going to tell you one about a 
clever boy called Kay and the Snow Queen, and how they 
go to her great Ice Palace in the snow, far, far, far . . . 
Oh, it's a lovely story! Magic roses, fights, robbers. . . . 
Do you know I know all the stories in the world? {Sud- 
denly.) Do you see this sword? {Humming and making a 
few steps with sword drawn.) Snip! Snap! Snooper! I hope 
we'll run the villain through and let his wicked blood 
gush through the palace dungeons! Do you know, if I 
were to tell you a hundred stories a day for a hundred 
days, I would still have hundreds to tell you! But this 
one especially! Do you see this gun? You want to hear 
my story, don't you? Ah! I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll 
do more than just tell it to you — I'll show you the story 
as a play! Here! Listen! {Confidentially). 

Behind that curtain sits a girl — Gerda and her friend, 
a boy — Kay. It's winter when the story begins. . . . Yes, 
I know how it begins, but I don't know how it's all going 
to end; for I haven't invented the end yet. I'll have to 
make it up as I go. I may even have to take part in it 
myself, if Kay and Gerda get into trouble. Anyway! 
Here we go! The Story of The Snow Queen! Sh! {Sound 
of hammering is heard behind the curtain.) I think I hear Kay 
mending his sledge . . . and . . . yes! There it is now — 
the organ-grinder's tune as he plays down in the cold 
streets below. . . . {Music of barrel-organ.) It's Gerda's 
favourite tune . . . and Granny's too. Sh. . . . ! 
With his fingers to his lips the Storyteller opens the curtain 

as he goes off. 



A poor neat little garret. There is a large window through which 
we see snow-covered roofs and gables and a church steeple in the dis- 
tance. It is towards evening and getting dark. A table with a lamp. 
A bench near it. A stove. Not far from it Granny s armchair. On 
the opposite side of the stage a chest and on it a rose-tree which is in 
full bloom though it is winter. 

The organ-grinder is heard playing down in the courtyard. 

Gerda, a girl of about twelve years of age, sits in the armchair 
doing some needlework. Kay, a boy, is sitting on the floor repairing 
his sledge. 

Gerda {after a silence): Listen, Kay! 

Kay: The old organ-grinder! 

Gerda: His music sounds quite muffled today — like 

Kay: It's the snow. 

(Gerda stands at the window and looks down into the street.) 
Gerda: I can see the organ-grinder now: like a little black 

smudge in the snow. 
Kay {busy with sledge): Is he stamping his feet? 
Gerda: Yes. How did you know? 
Kay: Oh, he always does it. I used to think that he was 

doing a dance to the tune. 
Gerda: He must be very cold down there. 
Kay: He'll soon be home. {Getting up.) See, it's getting 

dark now. 

{Music stops.) 


Gerda: He's stopped. 
Kay (at window)'. There he goes. 

Gerda: It's difficult pushing his way through the snow. 

Kay: It's easy in the middle where the horses are dashing 

along. Ah! Soon my sledge will be ready to go dashing 

along behind them. {Going to sledge again.) 

Gerda {still looking out of window): Snow is falling again. 

It dizzies me — watching snowflakes fall — like feathers. 
Kay: I read in a book that they were frozen rain. {Busy at 

(The music of the organ-grinder* s tune comes back as Gerda 
begins to sing.) 
Gerda: Now the frost grips all the earth, 

The birds begin to cry 
Tears which fall 
And freeze till all 
As snowflakes fill the sky. 
(Kay joins in humming during the song.) 
So all the snowflakes 
Are tears that are silently 
Gliding by . . . 
For unless 
God's sun will bless 
Our earth, the birds will die. 
(The music fades out. Kay still hums it, then stops abruptly.) 
Kay: Listen, Gerda! 
Gerda: What is it? 
Kay: Sh! (Silence.) The stairs are squeaking . . . aren't 

Gerda: Yes! Granny's coming! 

(Steps offstage. Gerda runs to lay the table.) 
Kay (running to the stove): Hoi! Granny, hurry up! 



Gerda: Don't, Kayl Don't hurry her, she is old and 

there are so many stairs. 
Kay: She can't hear me anyway. She is too far down. 

H'i, h'i, Granny! Hurry up! 
Gerda: H'i, h'i, Granny! Be quick! 
Kay: The kettle is singing! (He takes the kettle from the 

Gerda {running to prepare the tea): . . . Singing . . . sing- 
ing .. . 
Kay (astonished): Stop! She's already wiping her shoes on 

the mat. . . . She was quick! 
Gerda: Yes. . . . (There is a knock at the door.) Why did 

she knock? 
Kay: Haha! To frighten us! (Gerda giggles.) Quiet! 

Let's frighten her. Don't answer. 

(Again there is knocking at the door. The children giggle. The 
knocking becomes louder. 
Gerda (whispering): Let's hide. 
Kay: Yes, let's. 

(Gerda and Kay hide underneath the table and behind the arm- 
chair. The door opens, in comes a tall Man dressed in grey. 
He looks around. Silence?) 
Gerda: Miaow! Miaow! 
Kay: Bow-wow! 

(The Man jumps in surprise. Suddenly the two children rush 
Kay and Gerda: Ha! Ha! Granny! . . . Oh! (They stare 

at the Man, then at each other.) 
Man: Ill-bred brats! 
Kay: We are not ill-bred brats. 
Man: Silence! (He turns on Kay and sees the roses.) Ah! 

Stand aside. The roses! (He moves towards them.) 



Gerda (in frightened whispers to Kay): What does he want 
with our roses? 

Kay: How should I know? 

Man: Hm! They are real live ones . . . undoubtedly! For 
they have (a) the sickly scent of such plants, (b) their dis- 
gusting softness, and (c) their gaudy, girlish colour. 
Pooh! (He breathes on them.) 

Gerda: Who can he be? He makes me shiver. 

Kay: Me too. The room has got colder. 

Gerda: And the kettle has stopped singing. 

Kay: See! He's breathing on our roses. 

Gerda: He's a magician. 

Man (as though in anger at the roses): Pah! (He turns suddenly 
on the two children; they back away.) 

Kay (bravely): Who are you? What do you want? 
(Panicky, as Man advances.) 

Man: It is only ill-bred brats who are — (Poking him with 
stick) — (a) inquisitive, (b) forward, and (c) noisy. Well 
brought-up children are (a) uninquisitive, (b) modest, and 
(c) SILENT! Hah! (He breathes on them and Gerda screams. 
There is the sound of someone running up the stair and 
Granny's voice calling.) 

Granny (off): Children! What are you doing! I'm 
coming! (Sound of knocking boots on wall.) I'm getting the 
snow off my feet! Well! 

(Granny comes in but does not notice Man.) 
Did I leave you too long? I hope you didn't let the stove 
go out, Kay? — What's the matter with you? (She follows 
the eyes of the children who are staring at the Man.) Oh! 

Man (coming forward): Good evening. . . . 

Granny: Good evening ... eh. . . . I'm afraid I don't 
know the gentleman's name. 



Man: Just call me 'Chancellor' . . . 

Granny: Oh! Won't you sit down . . . Mr. . . . 

Chancellor. Gerda, get the Chancellor a seat by the 

Man: Fires don't agree with me; and I did not come here 

to sit and gossip. . . . 
Granny: Then I hope you don't mind if I do. I've been 

on my feet working all day. 
Man: You may sit. (Imperiously.) I have come here today 

on behalf of a powerful lady. She has a demand to make 

of you. 
Granny: Oh! If it's to do charring or any outside work, 

sir, I don't know that I could fit it in. But if it's mending 

or washing that I could do here in the evening, I might. 

Let me see . . . Thursdays I . . . 
Man: Fiddlesticks! This lady does not want anything like 

Granny: Some baking, perhaps? 
Gerda: Granny bakes wonderful cakes! 
Kay: Scrumptious ones! 
Man: Fiddlesticks! Fiddlesticks! She doesn't want your 

cakes, or your work. She simply wants that rose-tree. 

(Pointing to it.) 
Gerda: The rose-tree! 

Granny: Oh! We can't part with our rose-tree, sir. 
Man: You must\ The lady I speak of wants it so much 

that she is prepared to reward you handsomely. 
Granny: Does she love roses so much? 
Man: She hates them. (They are taken aback.) She loathes 

them and especially those which flower in winter. 
Granny: But if she doesn't like them what does she want 

them for? 


Man (looking hatefully at the roses as if at a human enemy): To 
bury them deep under the ice. 

Gerda: Granny! 

Granny: Hush! 

Man: Ask your price or anything in exchange. Anything 
— I will consider it. 

Granny: Our roses are not for sale, sir. 

Kay: Good old Granny! 

Man: Fiddlesticks! {To Kay.) And as for you\ What a 
pity your Granny won't part with them; for in exchange 
I could have given you such wonderful ice-crystals. 

Kay: Crystals. Oh! 

Man: ... A collection of ice-crystals each one of which is 
a different design. Some with a million sides, yet so small 
that all you see is a glitter, and some as big as your head. 

Kay: As big as my head? A crystal? 

Granny: Mr. Chancellor, I have told you — we cannot 
part with our rose-tree. It is a very special one. The 
Storyteller has said that it will flower all the time — even 
in winter — as long as we are happy together here. 

Chancellor: And you refuse to part with it? 

Granny: Yes. 

Chancellor: Well! We will see! So long as you are all 
happy together, eh? You will soon realise that you have 
been a very foolish old woman. 

Kay: Don't talk to my Granny that way! 

Chancellor: She is just a stubborn old goat. 

Kay: You . . . ! You are a wicked old man! 

Granny: Kay, stop that! 

Chancellor: Hahaa! We shall freeze you, my boy. We 
shall freeze you. 

Gerda: We won't let you! Go away! 



Chancellor: We shall see! Good-day, you stupid old 

Kay: Oh! . . . Everybody! . . . Just everybody . . . loves 
our Granny and you . . . you . . . just growl at her, you 
. . . you . . . 

Granny {restraining him): Kay! 

Kay: You iceberg! 

Chancellor: Haha! We shall see what will happen to 
you now. I shall go to the lady who sent me — I shall go 
to the Queen! (Reaching for his hat.) You know which 

(They are all rather alarmed at the Chancellor's last state- 
ment. The Storyteller, who has keen coming up the stairs ', 
can now be heard singing) 

Storyteller (off): . . . Crippety! Crappity. . . . Boom! 
(The Storyteller and the Chancellor collide in the door- 

Chancellor: Fool! 

(The Chancellor goes.) 

Storyteller: Crippety! What an icicle! (He comes for- 
ward into the room.) Snip! Snap! Snooper! Ah! What's 
the matter? Has that old snowdrift upset you? (Silence.) 
Eh? Come now. 

Gerda: Oh, Mr. Storyteller — he wanted to take our roses 

Storyteller: Ah! (Turns to rose-tree.) Well, he didn't get 
them anyway. (He goes to the roses.) I am glad he didn't. 
And so are they, aren't you, roses? What do you say? 
What did you say, little bud? That you always want to 
live here with Gerda and Kay and with Granny, who gives 
you a drink of water every day and sometimes gives 
Mr. Storyteller a drink of tea. 


Granny: Haha! (Laughing despite herself ".) I'm glad you've 
come to cheer us up. And there's the kettle singing again! 

Storyteller: Ah! {Crossing.) What's that, kettle? What 
did you say? Fizzz! You're hisssssssssing angry? Why? 
At them letting you ssit and ssplutter — now! don't stutter 
— Oh! And if I come near you you'll ssssssssssssscald 
me! Oh! 

Granny and Gerda: Haha! 

Granny: You'll burn your hand. Here's a kettle-holder. 
(They all laugh but Kay.) 

Storyteller: Hullo! What's the matter with you, Kay? 

Kay: Oh nothing! Leave me alone. 

Storyteller: Come now! Out with it. 

Kay: Well. . . . It's that man ... the Chancellor. 

Granny: Oh, let's forget him. He's gone. 

Kay: Yes, but he said he's gone to the Queen. What 
Queen would that be? 

Storyteller: Ah! Judging from his icy looks I would 
say it must be the Snow Queen. 

Kay: The Snow Queen! 

Storyteller: Yes. She has hard-hearted messengers who 
go all over the world trying to freeze the heart of things 
and people. 

(There is a gust of wind and the window rattles.) 

Gerda: Oh! (Jumping.) Someone knocked at the win- 
dow. (Opening a half of the curtain.) 

Granny: It was only the snow; and the wind. Have your 
tea to warm you. 

(They sit to tea round the stove.) 

Storyteller: The Snow Queen couldn't do much damage 
here. All our hearts are too warm, and with Granny's tea 
she couldn't freeze us at all. But you are too hot, cup! 



Gerda: If she came we'd sit her up on the stove and she 
would melt away. Ha! ha! 

Kay: Where does she live? 

Storyteller: Oh, in the Summer she lives far far away 
on the furthest north point of the Earth. But in the 
Winter she comes sweeping down to our land, gliding 
on a big black cloud. And then, at night while we are 
asleep, she'll glide through the streets silently. She some- 
times looks through a window and when we get up in the 
cold morning we find the whole of the window glass 
frosted with flowers. 

(Gust of wind and window rattles?) 

Gerda: Look! The frost-flowers in the window! Does 
that mean that she was here? 

Storyteller: Perhaps she just looked in and went away. 

Gerda: I wish I could have seen her. 

Kay: Have you ever seen the Snow Queen? 

Storyteller: Yes, I have seen her — once. 

Gerda: Oh, tell me! 

Storyteller: Well, once Oh! before you were born, 

I . . . but I mustn't tell you a story now or Granny 
might scold me for keeping you from your home-lessons. 

Kay: Go on! Granny's dozing off by the fire, sh! 

Gerda (whispering): And we've done most of our lessons. 

Storyteller (whispering): History? 

Kay and Gerda: Yes, yes. 

Storyteller (^whispering): Writing? 

Kay and Gerda: Yes, yes. 

Storyteller (whispering): Sums? {Normal voice.) Ah! 
She's snoring now. She deserves her sleep, and you 
deserve a story. Now . . . ! (Settling to it professionally.) 
One night, long, long ago a strange thing happened to 



me. At that time my mother — just like Granny — went 
out to work for other ladies all day. But she wasn't so 
strong as Granny and like me her hands were clumsy; so 
it would often occur that she didn't get home till very 
late. Now one evening I was waiting patiently. It was 
later than she'd ever been and it was winter. The wind 
was blowing like — well, like tonight ... a North wind. 
Well, I waited and I waited, but presently the candle 
burnt right down and went out. Then I got frightened. 
The old street lamp outside our window creaked and 
swung about in the wind; and as it swung to and fro it 
sent weird shadows scampering across the floor and up 
and down the walls of the room. I snatched my cap and 
scarf and ran out of the house, slamming the door. It 
wasn't so eerie waiting out in the street. It was dead 
quiet. I pushed aside some dry snow and sat on the step. 
Then — suddenly — the wind whipped dry snow off the 
street, and the roofs and the railings and the gate. And 
it all whirled round and round in the wind till I could 

hardly see for snow. Then it happened Inside the 

whirling snow a very beautiful white shape grew, like the 
hugest snowflake you ever saw, and as the wind blew 
faster and snowflakes flew around and around it grew and 
grew and grew and grew till . . . 

(A. great gust of wind and at the same time his hand sweeps the 
lamp off the table and there is a blackout.) 
Granny {crying out): Children! 

Storyteller: It was my clumsy hands again! I'll light the 

{He does so; but the light is different now. It flickers strangely 
and in the light there stands a beautiful Woman in white, 
with blue hair and glittering diamonds in it.) 



All: Oh! 

Storyteller: It's the . . . {Before he can say more the 
Woman waves her hand and he seems unable to speak.) 

Woman: I knocked, but perhaps I was not heard? 

Kay: Granny said it . . . was only the snow. 

Woman: Did I frighten you? 

Kay {frightened): Oh no — not a bit, really! 

Woman: I am glad. I like a brave boy. {To others.) Good 
evening to you all. 

Granny: Good evening . . . madam. Will you ... sit 

Woman: I thank you, no. 

Granny: Oh it's so cold! Let me close the window. {Sh 
closes it.) 

Woman: The cold does not worry me; but it migh 
damage the . • . roses. {Moving to them.) 

Granny: Oh! {Not sure.) Perhaps a cup of tea would . . . 

Woman: . . . Tea! I hate anything hot. Thank you. So 
you are all happy together here. . . . Hm. . . . But I am 
afraid I shall have to disturb you. The girl is your grand- 

Granny: Yes, madam. 

Woman {turning to Kay): And jou — are you her brother? 

Kay: A friend. 

Woman: Ah! A foster-child! 

Kay: I am not a foster-child. 

Granny: Of course not, dear. {Aside to Woman.) It's 
true he is not my grandson. When his parents died he 
had no one in the world; so I gave him a home. But now 
he is just one of my children. 

Woman: Hm. . . . But you are very old. 

Kay: Granny isn't old at all! ..... Are you? 



Granny: Well . . . 

Woman {to Granny): And you might grow ill. 

Gerda: Granny won't grow ill! 

Woman {to Granny): You might . . . die. 

Gerda and Kay: She can't die! 

Woman: Silence! {Angrily and then calmly?) I am used to 

silence when I speak; and what I say is true. {To Granny.) 

Is it not? (Granny is troubled and does not answer?) And so 

I shall take the boy with me. 
Kay: What! 
Woman: I am a Queen. My palace is very, very large and 

very lonely for me. {To Kay.) You will stay with me. 

{To Granny.) I will make the boy my son, so he shall be 

a prince. Would you stand in his way? 
Gerda: Granny, Granny, don't give him away! He can 

work if it's hard for you; deliver newspapers, chop wood, 

or clear snow away. . . . 
Kay {to Gerda): I can speak for myself. 
Gerda {continuing): Granny, don't give him away! 

{Calming gesture from Granny.) 
Kay: Granny, you don't want me to go away, do you? 
Granny: I never want to part with you! 
Kay {to Queen): There! You see. I can't come. 
Queen: There is no need to hurry. Think about it, Kay. 

You will live in a beautiful palace and there you will have 

everything. . . . 
Kay: . . . But I won't have Granny and Gerda. So I won't 

Storyteller: Good boy! 

Queen: Silence! {She again waves her hand over the Story- 
Granny: I am sorry . . . madam. I can't let you have 



him; even if he is naughty at times. Yes — he makes me 

sad and angry, now and then. But more often he makes 

me happy. He is my boy and he shall stay with me. 
Gerda: Yes. 
Queen: Very well. As you will. Stay here . . . Kay; if 

you like it so much — if you don't wish to become a 

prince. Good-bye. Good-bye. {Smiling) Don't you 

want to kiss me good-bye? 
Kay: No, I don't. 
Queen: So you are afraid of me — and I thought you were 

a brave boy. 
Kay: I'm not afraid of anything! 
Queen: Not anything Then — kiss me good-bye. 

(Kay moves forward) 
Gerda: Don't, Kay! . . . 
Kay: Good-bye! 

Queen: Good-bye! {She kisses him.) 
{The wind moans.) 

Soon we shall meet again . . . Kay. 

{Light flickers and dies for a moment. Wind. . . . When the 
light returns the Queen has gone.) 
Storyteller: It was the Snow Queen; I tried to warn 

Gerda: The Snow Queen! 
Granny: Have done with your stories! {Angrily.) Kay! 

(Kay has wandered over to the rose-tree.) 
Kay: Look. The roses are dead. (To Storyteller.) You 

said they'd never die. See! {He picks a rose and throws it on 

the floor.) 
Gerda: Kay! 
Granny: The rose-tree withered! — Oh! {She runs to it.) 

Oh! How sad! 



Kay {aping her): 'How sad!' Granny waddles like a goose 

when she runs. 
Gerda: Kay! Kay! 
Kay: Kay! Kay! Well, it's true, isn't it! (He demonstrates 

how Granny runs.) 
Granny: Kay! 
Kay: Well, what are you staring at? You've seen me 

before. . . . Haven't you? 
Granny: What's come over you? I don't recognise you. 
Kay: Oh! You're getting old and shortsighted that's all! 
Gerda: Kay, how can you say such a thing! 
Kay (imitating her): 'How can you say such a thing!' How 

can I say such a thing? Because it's true, and because I'm 

fed up with this garret and you two with your soppy 

notions — that's why! (He turns away to the window.) 
Gerda (low voice): Kay! 

(A long silence.) 
Storyteller: Yes— it was the Snow Queen. . . . 
Gerda: But . . . why didn't you tell us at first? 
Storyteller: I couldn't. . . . She waved her hand at me, 

and it was as if I were turned to ice. . . . 
Kay: Ice — fiddlesticks! 

Gerda: Kay! You sound like the Chancellor. . . . 
Kay: I'm glad. He's sensible— not soft like you. 
Gerda (speechless): Oh! 
Granny: Children, to bed! It's late. You are beginning 

to quarrel. Do you hear? At once; wash— and to 

Gerda (crying): Granny ... I want to know what is 

wrong with him. 
Kay: 'Aehhhhhl' How ugly you are when you cry! 




Storyteller (leading Gerda to the bedroom door): Nothing! 

Kay must sleep it off. That's all. 
Kay: 'Aehhhh!' 

Storyteller: Kay!! You are both going to bed now. 
We'll say good-night to you later. 
(The children go off.) 
Granny (aghast): But . . . what has come over the boy? 
Storyteller: Come, come, don't worry. Here, first, sit 
down — and then, here, have a cup of tea. — You see (sits 
down) — when I met the Snow Queen she asked me to kiss 
her too — but I did not, I ran away. And mother said to 
me afterwards that this was the right thing to do. ... If 
the Snow Queen kisses you, your heart turns to ice. . . . 
(Low.) Now our little Kay has a heart of ice. . . . 
Granny: But that is not possible! No. No. You'll see. 

Tomorrow he'll wake up as good and as gay as ever. 
Storyteller: Perhaps. But suppose he does not? What 
then? What's to be done? (They sit silently.) No, Snow 
Queen, I am not going to let you have the little boy. 
( Wind grows stronger.) I am not afraid of you! Whistle, 
howl, sing, shake the window, I shall find out how to 
deal with you, Snow Queen — I shall! — Though I don't 
know yet ... I don't know yet. . . . 

(The Snow Queen's voice is heard calling outside:) 
Queen (in the distance): Kay! . . . 

(Neither Granny nor the Storyteller hear the call. But the 
door of the children's room opens, and out comes Kay, walk- 
ing on tiptoe, his coat over his arm, and listening attentively. 
He reaches the door, but before he can slip out, there is another 
call, this time nearer.) 
(Offstage): Kay! . . . 

(Kay looks towards the window . . . the Snow Queen appears 

17 c 


in the frame. Kay climbs up to the sill. — The Snow Queen 
smiles at him and puts one of her arms around him so that he 
is almost entirely covered by her long sleeve?) 

Only now the Storyteller and Granny look up. They see 
what is happening and utter an inarticulate 'Kay!' . . . But 
the Snow Queen and Kay turn to fly away. 





Gerda comes in, tramping wearily and carrying a small bundle. 
She is humming the organ-grinder's tune. 

Gerda: Everywhere I go I find the roads the same and 
the people strange. . . . Oh! {Stopping.) I wonder how 
many days, how many weeks, how many months I have 
travelled now? The snow had just gone when I left home. 
Then came the Spring and the flowers, and the sun got 
hotter and hotter, till the Summer came and the dust. 
The leaves are falling about me now, so it must be 
Autumn and . . . Oh! (Kealising it.) It will soon be 
Winter again and I still have not found Kay. Must I 
search all through the cold Winter too? {She weeps a little 
and sits.) Now I know what it is to be really alone. All 
alone! {Looking round, sighs.) 

{Suddenly a raven — Karl — appears. She does not see him and 
he does not see her. He crows to himself?) 

Karl: Kra! — kra! 

(Gerda screams and jumps up. At her scream Karl screeches 
and flaps a good foot into the air. They both stand apart, 
facing and unsure of each other?) 

Gerda {timidly): Good . . . afternoon . . . Mr. . . . Raven. 

Karl {timidly)-. Good . . . afternoon . . . madam. ... or 

{Silence as they eye each other.) 
You aren't going to grasp for a branch and thrash me? 

Gerda: Why, no, sir. 



Karl: Nor cast a sharp stone at my back? 

Gerda: No, sir. 

Karl: Nor your parcel? 

Gerda: Oh no, sir. 

Karl: Ah! (Relieved.) Grand! Grand! You are marvel- 
lously well brought-up! M^^^rvellously! Don't I talk 

Gerda: You do indeed. 

Karl: Hahahal Passing my young days in the castle park 
— I learned the jargon of the court. I am ha\£ a court 
raven. But Kiara is a court raven in fizct! 

Gerda: Klara? But who is that? 

Karl: Kkra is my bride to be. She gets her nourishment 
from the royal Lzrder, real royal garbage, you understand? 

Gerda: Yes, I see, sir. 

Karl: You aren't from these p^rts — or are you? 

Gerda (sighing)-. No, sir, I come from very far away. 

Karl: Far parts — far parts — I took it for granted. — Is 
that why you are so downhearted? 

Gerda: No, it's because I can't find my friend whom I am 
looking for — everywhere — a boy. 

Karl: A Lzd? Ah\ Can I help you? I'm a past master in 

Gerda: Thank you. Oh, if you only could. You see, we 
lived together so happily — he and Granny and I. But one 
day, last winter, the Snow Queen came and fetched him 
— and he has never been seen again. The name of the 
boy is . . . 

Karl (quickly)'. Kay? 

Gerda: How do you know? 

Karl: And you ate Gerda? 

Gerda: Yes, I am called Gerda. But how . . . ? 



Karl: Hahal Our aunt, the magpie, a ghastly gossip, 

knows all that passes in the far worldl 
Gerda: Then you . . . you know where Kay is? Answer 

me! Quick! 
Karl: Ksa-ra\ Kra-ral — For forty days we <zsked and 

guessed, discussed and examined the facts . . . 
Gerda: And? 
Karl: . . . tried to establish, to leam, to discover wh^re he 

had vanished to . . . 
Gerda: And? 


. . . to d 

etect his 



. . » 




... to . 

. . to . . 

. to . . . 




Not a chance of 

a gknce! 

Gerda (disappointed): Oh . . . ! 

Karl: Hark). 

Gerda: What's the matter? 

Karl: JLzrk! H^rk! That's Klaral Th^t charming flap- 
ping of her wings. Grand! 

{A. second raven appears?) 
Darling Klaral 

Klara: Darling JCzrl! 

Karl: How ate you, Klara? 

Klara: How are you, Karl? 

Karl: Marvellous! 

Klara: I have vastly interesting news. You'll g^sp, K^rl. 

Karl: But I do! (He opens his beak wide.) 

Klara: Not too tar apartl Not too for! It is crude and 
rude! (She adjusts his beak.) Th^re! (Continuing.) Imagine, 
YLarl, imagine: Kay . . . 



Gerda and Karl: Kay? 

Klara: I have news of Kay. Stand th^re, Kail, while I 

import it, that I can mark how startled you are. Imagine, 

Karl — Kay's in the azstle! 
Gerda: What?— You're sure? What castle? 
Klara (jumps round): -^4hh, who's th^t? 
Karl: Don't be alarmed, Klara. That's G^rda. 
Klara: G^rda? What marvels! (She curtsies ceremoniously!) 

How are you, G^rda? 
Gerda: Do tell me, what castle? How is Kay? Who 

found him? 

(The Ravens speak to each other excitedly in the ravens* 
language then they come to Gerda.) 
Karl and Klara (both trying to talk-at once): ^4<rtually . . . ! 

(They stop and bow to each other!) 
Klara: lifter you Karll (Looking daggers at him.) 
Karl (conciliatory): No. lifter you, Klara, daaarlingl 
Klara (beginning again): One week p^st, little Christina . . . 
Karl: . . . The Princess . . . 
Klara: The Princess, went to her father . . . 
Karl: The King . . . 
Klara (quickly): . . . The Princess went to the King; and 

she said to her dear Papa, 'Papa 9 (Stops. To Karl.) 

What did she say? 
Karl: 'I'm b^red.' 
Klara: 'I'm b^red, Papa, 9 she said, 'and if I can't get 

married, I'd rather be dead. 9 
Both: That's what she said. 
Gerda: But why do you tell me this? 
Both: Aaaaaahl Wait! 
Karl: lifter you, Klaral 
Klara: lifter you, Karll 



Karl: Well, Princess Christina said to her dad, I shan't 

let you marry me to a lad who just says 'Yes 9 to all I 

say . . . 
Klara: . . . Because that's why I'm bored, that's why I'm 

sad. Everyone's too good. I want some lad who is brave 

enough to be bad — to me. 
Karl: So the King ordered every country lad to come to 

the ozstle and see who had no fear of Christina . . . 
Klara: . . . and her dad; and they were all afraid except 

one lad . . . 
Gerda: Kay? 
Both: Kay! That's the lad! 
Klara: He just laughed and chatted unabashed. 
Gerda: That would be Kay! He's not afraid of anyone. 
Klara: He chaffed the Princess . . . 
Karl: . . . and her dad. And the Princess said, 'That's the 

ladV And they were married; and her dad . . . 
Klara: His Majesty the King . . . 
Karl: . . . Her dad gave them half of his kingdom. 
Klara: And a marvellous g^rden-p^rty! 
Both: ¥Lxa-kia\ 

Gerda: But are you quite certain that it is Kay? 
Karl: Absolutely! 
Klara: virtually . . . this afternoon I heard Christina say 

— to the Prince, 'Come here, KayV 
Karl: And he said, 'The Snow Queen has kidnapped 

Gerda: I must go to the castle . . . right away. 
Both: Kra\-kta\ 
Klara: The roads are ghastly. We will fly. On my b^ck! 

I will ozrry Gerda to the ozstle. 
Karl: Pardon me. I am stronger. I will ozrry Gerda. 



Klara {sharply): Wait till you're asked for gallantry! 
(Karl is hurt.) K/zrl! Let's both cany Gerda. 
(Gerda mounts on her back.) 
Karl: Kra! kra! 
Klara: Now, to the castle! 
Both: Kra! Kra! Kra! Kra! 

Karl, Klara and Gerda start to flap off as the light fades 

When the light returns the stage is empty. A. silent man, 
the Chancellor, wrapped up to his nose in a fur coat, enters 
— and crosses the stage — apparently following Gerda. He 
does not notice another man, the Storyteller, who follows 
him at a safe distance. 




The curtain opens in the dark. A. hall in the Royal Palace — a 
somewhat sombre place in gloomy light. Out of the vaulted room 
there leads in the background an apparently endless gallery. Across 
the middle of the floor goes a chalk line, very noticeable in the half 
darkness, dividing the hall and the gallery into two exactly equal 
parts, the right one darker and more sinister than the left. 

The stage is empty. As a clock strikes eleven, a Man in Grey 
appears, who silently moves along the line and looks towards the 
left . . . Suddenly he seems to notice something and withdraws in 
silence . . . 

A side door opens l. very silently, and Klara peeps into the 
room. Then she hops in, 

Klara (whispering): K^rl! 

Karl {off stage, whispering): Klaral 

Klara: Karll (Reprimanding.) Be a man\ Be a man\ 

Karl {entering, looking around): Empty — all ^mpty . . . 

Klara (to Gerda): Beware! Beware! 

Karl: Keep to this half of the ha\\\ 

Klara: Beware the line! 

Karl: Beware! Beware! 

Gerda: But, what's the meaning of this line? 

Klara: When His Ma\ esty gave Christina and Kay halt of 
his kingdom they got h#lf of the azstle too. This line cuts 
right through the heart of the kingdom. This ha\£ is 
Christina's. That's her father's. 

Karl: Better beware of the father's half. 



Gerda: What a gloomy place! 

Klara: Beware! Beware! The castle is dark and damp 

and vtfst, with passages which for centuries p^st no one 

has entered. 
Karl: Rats live there. 

Klara: And n^jty, maggoty, ghastly things. 
Karl: And ghosts! — ghosts of the p^st. 
Klara: And dusty curtains harbour b^ts! 
Gerda: Ugh!!! 

Klara: And sometimes in the stagnant air . . . 
Karl and Klara: . . . shr/Vks are heard! Brrrrrrrrrrrr! 
Gerda: And this {looking round) is where Kay lives? 

{Both Ravens nod silently and impressively. The silence is 
broken by a weird noise.) 
Karl [jumping with fright): Klaral — What's that? 

(Noise again.) 
Klara: I can't quite grasp, but . . . 
Gerda: Ssh! Listen! 

(Noise again, approaching) 
Karl (terrified)-. Klaral Klaral 
Klara: What can. it be? 

(Noise nearer.) 
Karl: Let's not wait and see. 
Klara: Karl, you're scared! 
Karl: No. But as a man it's my duty to protect you. 

Therefore I comm^/?d you to run away to a safe place. 

(He is about to run off first.) 
Klara: Karll ^4fter me! 

(Noise approaching all the time.) 
Gerda (stopping them both): Stop! We mustn't run away 

now. It might be Kay! Let's hide here! Come! Quickly! 

(Gerda bundles Karl and Klara into hiding with her as the 



noise grows and the door l. opens and in bursts a Horse made 

up of two people, Christina riding on it. — A. Lackey 

accompanies them, carrying two candlesticks with burning 

candles and lighting the Horse's capricious progress. 

Followed by another Lackey with cymbals and a third 

Lackey with a trumpet?) 

Princess (like a circus-rider, urging the Horse): Ho, ho! — 

More music! Louder! Quicker! 

{The noise becomes dreadful. The Horse runs about, wilder and 

wilder, and the forelegs' seem to be rather unruly.) 
Stop that! 

(Christina is thrown off.) 
For shame! {Furious, puts her crown straight.) You don't 
know how to play! You frighten me! 
{The Horse bursts out laugfiing, takes his head off, and out of 
the fore-legs' climbs a boy of about fourteen, laugjoing; he is 
the Prince.) 
Prince {laughing): You wanted to marry somebody who 

wasn't afraid of you — I'm not. 
Princess: You are insolent! 
Prince: But you like me — haha! 

(Lackeys are still beating the cymbals and blowing the trumpet?) 
Princess {to the Lackeys): Do stop that noise! {They 

Prince: That's better. I'm tired of playing circuses. {See- 
ing the hind legs standing miserably in a corner, carrying the 
fore-legs and the horse's head.) And he's tired, too. Send 
the hind legs to bed. 
Princess: You can go. 
Lackeys: Good-night, your Royal Highnesses! 

{The Lackeys go off— except the one who bears the candle- 



Prince: Good-night, old chap! {Giving the c hind legs* a 
friendly clap.) Good-night, hind legs! 
(The 'bind legs 9 puts the head on for ease of carryings but puts 
it by mistake back to front and so makes it impossible to 
see. He trips over something and falls out. Christina and 
Klaus both laugh.) 
{Tidying himself in front of a mirror.) I'm sorry if I was too 

{Sound of weeping from Gerda in hiding.) 
Prince: Oh! There's no need to be a cry-baby! 
Princess: I'm not a cry-baby! 

{More weeping off.) 
Prince: Well, you're crying all right! 

{More weeping off.) 
Princess: I tell you, I'm not crying! 

{More weeping.) 
Prince {turning angrily) : Then if you're not crying who . . . ? 

{Stops as he hears weeping) 
Princess: Yes who? Who is crying? 

{A.s they both look to where it is coming from ', the weeping 

Gerda comes out, followed by fearful Klara and Karl.) 

Gerda {tearfully): It is I! I . . . I . . . I'm sorry . . . but 

. . . oooo! {She bursts into tears again.) 
Karl: Pardon! Pardon, Your Highnesses, but . . . 
Prince: Quiet, you! {Turning to Gerda.) What are you 

crying for? And how did you get in? 
Klara and Karl: Actually . . . 
Prince: Stop chattering! 
Princess: Dear little girl, we won't hurt you. But why 

are you crying? 
Gerda {sobbing): I ... I was behind the curtain . . . and 
. . . ooooooo! {Tears again.) 



Princess: You were behind the curtain and what then? 

Gerda: . . . Th . . . there was a little hole in it . . . 

Princess: Yes? 

Gerda: . . . I . . . looked through it and . . . 

Princess: . . . and . . . 

Gerda: . . . then I saw his {pointing to Prince) — his face\ 

Oooooo! (In tears.) 
Princess (enjojingthis): And was that why you were crying? 
Gerda (swallowing hard)'. . . . Yes. 

(Princess laughs.) 
Prince: What's wrong with my face? 
Gerda: Oh! Nothing, please. It is just because it isn't 

Kay's face. 
Prince: Of course not. It's my own face. And I am 

Gerda: But the raven said he heard you, Princess, call 

him . . . (Gesture.) . . . 'Kay'. 
Prince and Princess (looking at each other)'. Kay? (To the 

others?) When? 
Klara: Actually, aitti l#nch — this afternoon. 
Princess: Oh, that was when you told me the story of 

Kay and Gerda. 
Prince: Oh yes! And then we played that I was Kay. 
Princess: And I was Gerda. 
Gerda (sobbing)-. But ... I am Gerda. 

Prince and Princess: You ? Gerda? 

Prince: Now I see! 

Princess: It must have been a terrible disappointment. 

Come, Gerda, come, little girl, don't cry! I'll give you 

this ribbon. (She wants to take off her sash.) 
Prince: Nonsense! That won't be any real help to her. 

(Low voice.) Ask Gerda to stay. 



Princess: You are now our guest in the castle, Gerda. 

Gerda {drying tears): Oh! Thank you, but I must go on. 

Prince: To search for Kay? 

Gerda: Yes, Prince . . . 

Prince: 'Prince' — nonsense! Just call me Klaus. 

Princess: And me Christina. 

Gerda: Thank you, Klaus, thank you, Christina. 

Ravens (giggling, delighted): Christina! Christina! 

Prince {to ravens): Stop chattering! (To Gerda.) And 

where do you hope to find Kay? 
Gerda: In the far, far north, perhaps ... in the Snow 

Queen's land. . . . 
Prince: But that's a long way . . . (Pause.) (Suddenly.) 

I know! We'll give Gerda the coach! 
Karl: Ra-ra! 

Princess: And four black horses! 
Klara (delighted): Ra-ra! 
Gerda (embarrassed): But . . . 
Prince: And fur gloves — and a muff! 
Princess: And fur boots! 
Prince: And a fur cap! 
Princess: And a fur coat! 
Gerda: No, no, Christina, I can't accept that! 
Princess: Why not? I shan't miss it. I have four hundred 

and eighty-nine fur coats. 
Prince: But first you must have a proper rest. 
Gerda: Please, Klaus, please, Christina, don't make me 

go to bed first. I can sleep in the coach. 
Prince: Alright. (Impatiently.) Ravens! Fly to the 

stables. Tell the grooms to harness four black horses to 

the coach! At once! 
Princess: The golden coach! 



Gerda: Oh! At least not the golden coach, please! 
Princess: Don't argue! You'll look so much nicer in that 

Klara (going): A carriage! A carriagd 
Karl: BLzck rrkzres! Black rn^res! Black m^res! 

(Klara and Karl go.) 
Prince: Now let's fetch the fur coat! 
Princess: And the other things. You are not afraid to be 

left alone? 
Prince: Of course not. (To Gerda.) Nobody can touch 

you on this side of the line. 
Gerda: Thank you. I'll sit here. (Pointing to a stool.) 
Prince: Fine. We'll be back soon. 

(They both go off quickly with one candlestick.) 
Gerda: Thank you, Christina. Thank you, Klaus. (Sits 

down.) How nice they are to me. — But this castle is really 

very strange ... so old and damp and gloomy. And 

those ghosts . . . (The clock starts striking again.) One 

... I hope it's not midnight on top of everything . . . 

four . . . five ... If the ghosts appeared . . . seven . . . 

I hope they will be back soon . . . eleven . . . twelve. 

(Short silence.) Midnight . . . Brrrr! But . . . but . . . 

somebody's coming. (Slowly.) If it's the ghost of 

Christina's great-great-great-grandfather, what shall I . . . 
(The King enters.) 

Oh! (Curtsies.) G-good evening, great-great-great 

grandfather. . . . 
King (fixing his eyes on her)'. Hm? . . . Grandfather? 
Gerda: Yes, sir . . . (Seeing his angry ejes.) I am sorry if 

I said anything wrong ... I have never met a ghost 

before. . . . 
King: A ghost? I . . .? 



Gerda: Yes . . . and I don't quite know how to talk to a 

King: A ghost Hm? . . . You think I am . . . 

Gerda {curtsies)'. A great-great-great-grandfather of 

King {staring at her): Christina!— That hussy! Hm— 

Come here. Come here! 
Gerda: Please excuse me . . . but . . . 
King: When I say 'Come', people obey!— Ghosts are not 

kept waiting. 
Gerda {takes a few steps towards line, then stops): Klaus said 

I should not cross the line. 
King {loudly): And I say: come here. 

(Gerda moves nearer, then retires.) 
{Impatiently, shouting.) Enough of this nonsense! I am— 
no ghost. 
Gerda: No ghost? 
King {comes down the line, appears in the light): I am the 

King— Princess Christina's father— the King! 
Gerda: Oh — I am sorry, sir. 

King: 'Sir'! He who wears this ring is used to be 
addressed as 'Your Majesty.' 

{He stretches his hand over the line. He is wearing a large 
Gerda {intimidated): Yes, Your Majesty. 

{She approaches the line to look at the ring. The King quickly 
catches her.) 
King: Guards! Guards! 

{Trumpets offstage — secret doors open— guards enter as Gerda 
just succeeds to free herself and jumps into the light half of the 
Gerda: Shame! Shame! You cheated, you— the King! 



King {furious, to the Guards): Well! . . . What are you 

standing around for listening? Off with you! (Guards 

off.) And you. Have you no sense of etiquette? What a way 

to talk to me — the King! . . . To scold me — in front of 

my soldiers! You have shamed me. You have no feelings. 
Gerda: I have . . . but you wanted to trap me! 
King {still angry): No — not I! {Then looking round 

anxiously; low voice.) He did! 
Gerda: He? Who? 
King {low voice, irritated): I shall tell you, if only you will 

come here. 

(Gerda shakes her head. Moves away from line.) 

{Shouting.) I can't shout it across the whole room! Be 

seated. {Gesture.) 
Gerda {taking her stool to the line, sitting down): I'll sit down 

on this side. 
King {grumbling): You are insolent! Disobedient! And 

. . . and — look at me — having to carry my own seat! 

I the King! 

{Then grumbling and with a sigh goes to fetch another stool, sits 
down on his side of the line. They begin a conversation in 
whispers and very confidentially^) 

More and more indignity! You see, the Chancellor wants 


Gerda: The Chancellor? Oh! Where is he? 

King: Oh, he is somewhere in the castle. He wants me 


Gerda {turning round): In this castle? How does he know 

that I am here? 
King: Oh, he has eyes everywhere. But what I am telling 

you is that he wants me to put you into a dungeon. You 

will let me, won't you? Eh? 

33 D 


Gerda {slightly withdrawing from King): Put me into a 

King: It's not my idea. I'd let you go. 
Gerda: But . . . you are the King — can't you protect me 

from him? 
King: No, I can't! 

Gerda: But why? You are not scared of him, are you? 
King (low voice)'. No — not of him — but of her. 
Gerda: Whom? 
King: The Snow Queen. 
Gerda: Is she here too? 
King: No, no. She lives in her land to the north, which 

borders on my Kingdom. She is very powerful and she 

might come to invade my country, if I let you go. So let 

me put you in a dungeon. She does not want you in her 

Gerda: The Snow Queen does not want me in her 

King: No — that's what the Chancellor says. What can I 

do? Come, Gerda, do let me cast you into the dungeon. 

A nice dungeon, a comfy one. 
Gerda (deep in thought): She does not want me in her 

land . . . 
King {angry): How often must I tell you; NO! Come on! 

If we anger her we are all lost. But if you go to the 

dungeon the Chancellor promised me that she would 

turn all my enemies into ice. 

(Chancellor enters at the back and listens.) 
Gerda: If she does not want me in her land, that can only 

mean that Kay is really there. 
Chancellor: It means nothing of the sort! 
(Gerda jumps up. The King rises.) 



But may I remind your Majesty of what it may mean if 

that girl is allowed to get away? Seize her! 
King: But you see, my dear Chancellor, she is on the 

wrong side of the line. 
Chancellor: To that, one might be inclined to say: 

Fiddlesticks! (He slowly approaches the line.) A King must 

be (a) as cold as snow, (b) as hard as ice and (c) as swift 

as a — winter whirlwind! {Suddenly lassoes Gerda with his 

scarf and draws her across the frontier 9 .) 
Gerda: Help! Help! . . . 
Chancellor: Haha! That is the way to do it! 

(The Storyteller suddenly enters on King's half.) 
Storyteller (freeing Gerda): No, thafs the way to do 

it! (And he runs with her to safety across the line.) 
Chancellor: You — here? 
Storyteller: Yes, I'm here. (Embracing Gerda.) I saw 

you were following Gerda, so I followed you. Snip 

Snap! Now what can you do? 
Chancellor: Sire, call the guards! 
Storyteller (pulling out pistol to King): Who moves — is 

shot! (Drawing a sword, to Chancellor.) Who stirs — is 

Chancellor: Call the guards! He won't shoot. He 

probably forgot to load it. 
Storyteller: No, I didn't. (Engaging the Chancellor.) 

Haha! Sir Chancellor! 
Gerda: Klaus! Christina! 
Chancellor (fencing): The guards, sire! The pistol isn't 

King (trembling): He says it is. 
Chancellor: If it is — he'll miss. 
King: And if he doesn't? . . . It's I— I who'll be killed! 



Chancellor: Ridiculous! (He knocks the pistol out of the 
Storyteller's hand with his sword.) That's that! 
(The King approaches as the Storyteller, in the heat of 
battle, puts his foot across the line.) 
Gerda: Look out! The line! 

(The King trips up the Storyteller.) 
King (proudly): That's that. 
Storyteller (falling): You tripped me up, Your Majesty! 

You cheated! 
King (seizing the Storyteller by his arms): Guards! 

Gerda (seizing the Storyteller by his legs): Christina! 

(As King and Gerda start trying to pull the Story- 
teller into their respective halves, Two Guards run 
in on one side and the Princess and Prince on the other. 
A tug-ofwar ensues. At last the Storyteller is pulled 
into Christina's half of the room.) 
Prince: What's this? 
Gerda: They nearly killed my best friend. And they 

want to cast me into a dungeon. 
Prince: Let them try. 

Princess (threatening): Papa, for this I shall . . . 
Prince (to Christina): Don't waste time on him! (To 

Gerda.) We've brought three fur coats. 
Princess: Oh, yes! Let's see which one suits you 

(Chancellor and King whisper together.) 
Prince: Don't waste time! (To Gerda.) Take the first 
you can get on! . . . (Loudly.) What are they whispering 
about there? 
Princess: Papa, if you don't stop plotting . . . 



King: We aren't plotting ... just chatting ... of this 

and that . . . 

(The Ravens enter.) 
Karl and Klara: Traral Traral 
Karl: A carnage is readyl 
Klara: Bkck nwes are harnessed! 
Prince: Splendid! Thanks for your services! 

(The Ravens bow.) 
Prince: Ready, Gerda? — Christina? (To Storyteller.) 

Are you coming with us? 
Storyteller: No. I'll keep my eye on the Chancellor — 

to prevent him from following you. 
Chancellor: Oh fiddlesticks! 
Princess: And Papa, I warn you, if . . . 
Prince (impatiently): Oh come on, Christina! 
(The Prince and Princess go off.) 
Karl and Klara (off): Tra-ra tra-ra Xra-ra tra-ra\ 
Storyteller (standing aside, keeping his eye on Chancellor, 

but tempted by the triumph of the moment to a little dance): 

Snip! Snap! Snooper! Pooper! Bazalooper! . . . 
Chancellor (aside to King): Sound the alarm! 
King (aside to Guard): Sound the alarm! 
Storyteller (stopping short in dance): Crippety! 
(Sound oj alarm off.) 


Chancellor: Hahaha! My dear Mr. Storyteller, the 

game is up. This little story will end soon — and not 

Storyteller (not at all sure, but quietly): Perhaps, my dear 

Chancellor- Perhaps not! 




Chancellor: The King's guard will catch Gerda and we 

will throw her into a dungeon. Hahaha! What do you 

say to that? 
Storyteller: Perhaps! — just — perhaps! 
Chancellor: Why, they cannot fail to catch her nowl 
Storyteller: Perhaps! 

(The King has been looking out excitedly?) 
King: They've caught her! 
Storyteller (perturbed)-. What? 
King: My good soldiers caught her! Here they come 

now! Bring her in! 

(A Guard brings in someone who seems to be Gerda. She is 
crying and covering her face with a muff.) 
Storyteller: Gerda! Crippety! 
King: Gerda. 
Chancellor: That's that! 
King: That's that! To the dungeons with her! 

(Noise at door.) 
Chancellor: What's that? 
King: Come in! 

(A second Guard brings in another Gerda, similarly dressed 
and weeping.) 
Storyteller: Crappity! 

(General amazement.) 
King (hand to head): Oh! I knew all this would drive me 

mad! Two Gerdas! I've gone off my head! 

(Both 'Gerdas' lower muffs. They are Klaus and Christina.) 
Chancellor and King: WHAT! ! ! 
Storyteller: Yes, dear Chancellor — that is that! 
King: But . . . but . . . how is that . . . that? (Pointing 

first to Klaus, then to Christina.) 
Prince: Simple! We had three fur coats. Gerda put on one. 



Princess: . » , And we put on the other two in the dark . . . 

Prince: And the stupid guards ran after us . . . 

Princess: , . . And Gerda simply drove away . . . 

Prince: ... in the golden coach. (To Chancellor.) 
And you can't get her now! 

Storyteller: Bravo, you two! (The children run off.) 
And now, my dear Chancellor, is the game up? 

Chancellor: No. The game goes on, my dear Story- 
teller. (Exit officiously.) 

Storyteller (to audience): But our story — that goes on 
too! (Exit mimicking the Chancellor's exit.) 

King (dejectedly, sitting on throne): Oh! 
(Music of coach travelling.) 




House curtain up. Scene curtain still down. Sound of singing off. 

Storyteller (singing): Snip! Snap! Snooper! (Ap- 
proaching.) Pooper, bazalooper! 

(Enter Storyteller, foot-sore.) 
Snip! Snap! Snooper! Crippety! Crappety! — Ugh! 

(He tries to do his little step dance i but his feet are too sore.) 
Now, look here, feet! I know how many many rocky 
miles we have walked together. I know you're sore, 
tired, blistered and needing a bath; but when I say a 
'crippety-crappety' to keep my spirits up, don't you go 
and spoil things by refusing to 'boom' when you come 
to 'Boom'! What? But if I don't give you some musical 
stamping to do you'll go cold and freeze among all this 
snow. What? There! there! Old feet! Don't cry. 
We'll forgive you this time; for after all we have got ahead 
of Gerda — even with her grand golden coach. Yes, the 
hilly shortcuts were hard going! We can afford to sit 
down for a bit. (He does.) Ah! The last I saw of Gerda 
was when we looked back from the top of our shortcut 
hill; and all the horses' harness in the sun shone like 
quicksilver; and all their bells rang and echoed up the 
valley. It may not be very long before her coach jingles 
by, on the road down there below the wood. On towards 
Kay in the far, far North! 

(A robbers whistle.) 
Sh! Sh! (Listens.) 

(A whistle.) 



Oh! Robbers! The robbers' call! 

(A whistle^ 
Oh! From my right! 

{A whistle?) 
Oh! From my left! 

(A whistle.) 
Oh! From my back! I'm surrounded! Crippity. 
{hooking about.) Crappity! 

{He suddenly sees something in the distance?) 
The golden coach is coming too! Away down the road 
I can see a little cloud of snow, and now the sun shining 
on something gold. Oh! 

The robbers will capture Gerda! I've got to get them 
away from this road till the coach gets past. 

{A whistle?) 
Here's a fix! What shall I do! Oh! I've got it! My beard! 
And my false nose too! {He gets them out.) I'll make 
myself look fierce and then I'll pretend I'm a robber too. 
A robber won't kill another robber. At least I hope not! 
I must lead them a dance! {Making up.) 

{Whistle nearer.) 
My nose! My beard! My sword! My gun! Now! {He 
stands ready.) 

{Enter Two Robbers, one from either side.) 
ist Robber: Stand still as a snowman or I'll slit you in 

2nd Robber: Move and you'll never move again! 
Storyteller {trying to be brave): Ha! ha! ha! {Putting on 
gruff voice.) Would you kill off Karel the Cruel? Would 
you rob the world of a great robber? 
ist Robber: Are you Karel the Cruel? 



Storyteller (threateningly): Must I show you, eh! 

ist Robber: No, but . . . 

Storyteller: Take me to your chief. Quickly! 

2ND Robber: Maybe we . . . 

Storyteller (roaring): I said take me to your chief! 

2ND Robber: Yes sir — I mean — yes. 

Storyteller (roaring): Take me from here! 

ist Robber: Yes, sir; but I'm afraid that we will have to 

blindfold you to take you to our secret headquarters. 
Storyteller (at top of his voice): Then blindfold me! 

(Aside.) I hope they don't knock off my nose. I can't 

hear the golden coach yet. 
2nd Robber: Here, sir. (He is blindfolded.) 
Storyteller: Now lead on! (Roaring.) I said quickly! 
Both Robbers: Yes, sir. 

Exeunt Two Robbers and Storyteller. 
Music — sound of travelling coach approaching then fade. 





Before the Curtain goes up, there is the sound of singing and 

The Robbers: We live in the woods! We live in the wilds 

A wicked life and a bold! 

With trap and knife and gun and sling 

We hunt for the bear . . . for anything, 

For coins of silver and gold! 
Chorus: For coins of silver and gold! 

A Robber: Silent the ambush, the trap and the knife — 
But noisy the gun at the rout! 
We like the noise of yells and shots, 
Of soup that's bubbling in the pots, 
We eat and shoot and shout! 
Chorus: We eat and shoot and shout! 

{Whistle off.) 
A Robber: We revelling robbers live in the woods 
A wicked but wonderful life! 
(The singer stops.) 
Robber Woman: Look out! 

(They all scramble for their guns and stand ready. The 

Storyteller is led in, blindfolded^) 
Who is it? 
ist Robber: He says he's Karel the Cruel. And he wants 
to join our robber band. 



Robber Woman: Never heard of him! Is he fierce 

Storyteller {roaring): Take off this rag, you country 

cut-purse! Or I'll blow myself up and shatter the camp! 
Robber Woman: Sounds all right! Let's see his face! 

{They whip off the handkerchief and almost the beard too.) 
Storyteller {roaring at her)-. Woman! Let me see your 

good chief! 
Robber Woman: You're talking to the chief. 
Storyteller {taken aback): Oh! 
Robber Woman: And don't roar at me . . . or . . . 

Storyteller: Ahhahahaha! {Slapping her on the back and 

laughing) I roared at youl The chief! Ahahaha! {She 

laughs too. They all laugh.) 
Robber Woman: So you want to join us? What can you 

Storyteller {flourishing pistol): I can shoot a man dead at 

a hundred yards and {flourishing sword) ... at one yard I 

can hack him into a hundred neat pieces! 
{All laugh.) 
Robber Woman: Haha! I like you. You're a real 

Storyteller: I'm glad you think so! 

Robber Woman: Look out! 

{Enter Chancellor with Robbers, also blindfolded.) 
Storyteller: Crippety! Crappity! I know these boots! 
Robber Woman: And who is this? 
ist Robber: He says . . . 
Chancellor {tearing off handkerchief): I must see the chief! 

There's no time to lose. 



Robber Woman: Hm ! . . . You are addressing the chief. 
I took over the business when my husband died. What 
do you want? 

Chancellor: I must talk to you immediately — but in 

Robber Woman: Hm! . . . 

Storyteller: Chief, don't trust that man! 

Robber Woman: Don't teach me my trade! Hm . . . 
(Movement of head to tent.) In there. (Let's the Chan- 
cellor pass in front of her and follows — revolver pointed at 
him. Turning round in the entrance?) And no eavesdrop- 
ping! Or I'll shoot you! 

Olof: Aye, aye, ma'am. 

Barbro: What do you take us for, ma'am? 

Robber Woman (in the tent): If you are going to waste 
my time over some footling bit of business, you won't 
leave this place alive. 

Chancellor: Fiddlesticks! We shall come to an under- 
standing. But it must be quickly. 

Robber Woman: Hm! (Slowly.) Well . . . get on with itt 

Chancellor: I can help you to enormous booty. 

Robber Woman: Hm . . . what sort? 

Chancellor: A golden coach. It is approaching now. 
Drawn by four black horses from the royal stables. 

Robber Woman: Hm . . . Who's in the coach? 

Chancellor: A little girl. 

Robber Woman: Any guard? 

Chancellor: No. 

Robber Woman: Hm. I see . . . How much of the booty 
would you want? 

Chancellor: Not much. 

Robber Woman: How much? 



Chancellor: Only the girl. 

Robber Woman: The girl? Why? Who is she? 

Chancellor: Oh, just a little girl, a poor girl; you 

wouldn't get any ransom for her, anyway. 
Robber Woman: Hmi . . . And how does a beggar girl 

come to be riding in a golden coach? Eh? 
Chancellor: It was lent her — by the Prince. A Queen 

wants her to be stopped. 
Robber Woman: Hm! . . . 
Chancellor: Be quick. I only want the girl and I'll take 

her away in my coach and not bother you. 
Robber Woman: Is this golden coach near? 
Chancellor: O very near. We must hurry! 
Robber Woman: Hm! . . . (Whistles^ 
(Barbro pops head in.) 

Telescope! (He goes.) If the coach is anywhere near, it 

will be on the road. 

(Barbro hands in telescoped) 

(To Barbro.) Watch this one! (Nodding to Chancellor.) 
Barbro (drawing long knife): Aye! Aye! Chief! 

(Robber Woman puts telescope through hole in tent and 
Robber Woman: Hm! . . . It's there all right! Coming 

bowling along in the snow, glittering in the sun like . . . 
Chancellor: . . . Gold. 
Robber Woman: Yes . . . gold. 
Barbro: Gold! 

Robber Woman: Sound the horn! 
Barbro: Aye, aye! 

(He fetches horn off hook and blows. An answering horn signal 
from outside; the sound of a drum; calls; a clatter of 



Robber Woman {girding herself with sword)-. Barbrol Send 

somebody to guard this man. 

(Barbro exits. She turns to the Chancellor; very quietly?) 

Well, if you have tricked me, and my men fall into an 

ambush, you will not leave this place alive. 
Chancellor: Fiddlesticks! Better hurry up! Or you'll 

miss the coach! 
Robber Woman {threateningly): Would you teach me my 

trade? Hm? 

(The bearded Storyteller sticks his head into the tent.) 
Storyteller (roaring): You want me, chief? 
Robber Woman: Yes. Come in. (He enters.) You are 

not coming with us. 
Storyteller: Not? — Chief, take me with you! I'm a 

tiger in battle! Grrrr! (Another roar, thumping chest.) 
Robber Woman: There won't be a battle. There's only 

a coachman and a girl. 
Storyteller: A girl? Take me, chief! I'll kill her! 
Robber Woman: What for? 

Storyteller: I've hated children since I was ... so high. 
Robber Woman: You stay here and look after this man. 

Don't answer or (Pointing her pistol at him.) 

Storyteller (quickly): Right you are, Mrs. Chief! 
Robber Woman (going off): I am always right. 
Storyteller: Quite right, Mrs. Chief. 
Chancellor (very satisfied, humming to himself): Twice two 

is four! — Everything goes well. — Twice two is four. — 

Everything is going as it should. . . . 

(From far away the voice of the Robber Woman is heard: 
To horse! and the clatter of hoofs, and shouting.) 

(To the Storyteller.) So you, too, hate children, 




Storyteller: Children? — Vermin! Should be stamped 

Chancellor: My very opinion! 

{Shouts and cries are again heard in the distance?) 
Aha! (He takes the telescope.) Let's see what's going on 
down the road. (Putting the telescope through the hole in the 

Storyteller {very excited)'. Can you see something? 

Chancellor {looking through the telescope)'. Ha! ha! Very 

Storyteller {anxiously)'. What is? 

Chancellor: The coachman is whipping up the horses 
like mad. 

Storyteller: And? 

Chancellor: Gold is rather heavy. Ha! ha! The coach 
won't go fast enough. 

Storyteller: And our men? 

Chancellor: The robbers? Ah! There they go sweep- 
ing along! The front horse is down in a cloud of 
snow! The coach is stopped! They're all round it now. 
The coachman is jumping from the box and running 
away. They've got him! Someone's leapt on the coach. 

{Shouts off in the distance.) 
Ha! ha! Good-night now, my little Gerda! {He turns from 
the telescope.) Twice two is four. That's that! 

Storyteller: I hope they didn't kill G — the little girl? 

Chancellor (suspiciously): Why? What's that to you? 

Storyteller (hurriedly): Because I'd like to kill her 
myself. Ha! 

Chancellor: Ha! ha! Robber, I like you. Here they 
(Noise. Joyful shouts. The Robber Woman and the gang of 

49 E 


Robbers, with Gerda in their midst, appear, dancing with 

excitement, Barbro sings C A wicked and wonderful life'.) 

Robber Woman {to Chancellor): Hey you, stranger, 

you are free! You didn't cheat us. 
Chancellor: Yes, but may I remind you . . . our agree- 
ment? The girl? 
Robber Woman: You can take her. 
Gerda {freeing herself)'. No — no! 
Chancellor: Quiet! 
Gerda {While Robbers catch her again and push her towards the 

Chancellor): Wait, robbers, wait, please, just one 

little minute! 
Chancellor: Silence, I say! 
Gerda: Take my fur coat, my fur hat, my gloves, my 

muff — take what you like — but let me go, dear robbers! 
Barbro {laughing): 'Dear Robbers.' 
Robbers: Hahaha! 
Gerda: Have I said anything funny? 
Chancellor: Bring her here! 

{At this moment a girl, Wenki, bursts into the tent, small, 
full of life, a rifle hanging over her shoulder and a pistol in her 
girdle. With a whoop she jumps on her mother's back.) 
Robber Woman: Hi! 
Wenki: Hullo, old Mother! 
Robber Woman: Hullo, you young goat! 
Wenki: Hullo, you old goat! {Slapping each other.) 
Robber Woman: Haha! How was the hunt, daughter? 
Wenki: Good. A hare and a wild goose. And your hunt? 
Robber Woman: Not so bad! A golden coach, four black 

horses and a young girl! 
Wenki: A girl! {Shouting.) Where? {Seeing Gerda.) Ah! 

Old goat, I'll have the girl. 



Chancellor: But you can't! She's mine. 

Wenki: Who's the old codger with the frozen face? 

Chancellor: You can't . . . 

Wenki: Don't you dare say 'no' to me! Bah! {Taking 

Gerda to corner.) Come, little girl. And don't tremble! 

I hate people who are scared and when I hate people 

Gerda: . . . No, really. I'm not scared. {Terrified.) Just 

excited, and happy. 
Wenki {patting Gerda): You little pet! You must play 

with me and go hunting. 
Chancellor: I protest, I protest. 
Wenki: Shoot the old fool! {Turning to Gerda.) Don't 

be afraid. Nobody shall shoot you as long as I don't 

quarrel with you. And even then I'll shoot you myself — 

I like you so much. {The two girls whisper together.) 
Chancellor {to Robber Woman): But, madam, I 

protest! I protest! 
Robber Woman {indifferent): My daughter wants the girl 

to herself. I never refuse her anything. Now get along! 
Chancellor: I protest! 
Robber Woman: Alright, but protest somewhere else. 

Get out! 

{Sound of coach drawn into camp.) 

Ah, that is the golden coach. Let's break it up and share 

the bits out! Come on! 
Robbers {running out): Booty! The coach! Gold! 

(Gerda, Wenki, the Chancellor and the Storyteller 
remain. Gerda and Wenki have talked together for some 
Wenki: So, you're called Gerda. Nice name. I . . . 
{The Chancellor breathes on Wenki.) 



What the ... I {Turning to see Chancellor.) You still 
here? (Pointing pistol.) Get out! 

(Chancellor breathes again.) 
{Mimics him, breathing three times.) I'll count three. If 
at 'three' you're still here, then . . . {Aims at Chan- 
cellor.) . . . One . . . 

Chancellor: I . . . 

Wenki: Two . . . 

Chancellor: I . . . 

Wenki: Thrrrr . . . 

{The Chancellor runs out. Wenki and Gerda laugh, and 

even the Storyteller can't keep his face straight.) 
{To the Bearded Man.) What are you doing here? 

Storyteller: Allow me, little chief, just to say a word to 
our new friend . . . 

Wenki: No! Get out! 

Storyteller: But . . . 

Wenki {levelling her pistol at him): One . . . 

Storyteller: Listen . . . 

Wenki: Two . . . 

Storyteller: But . . . 

Wenki: Thrrrr . . . 

(Storyteller runs out quickly.) 
{Laughing.) Haha! That's settled. Oh, Gerda, how 
nice you look! Your coat! And what gloves! You must 
give them to me. And your fur boots and muff. Friends 
must share everything. You don't mind, do you? 

Gerda: No . . . not at all . . . only . . . without the things 
... I'll probably die of cold before I get to the Snow 

Wenki: The Snow Queen? 

Gerda: Yes, that's where I am going. 



Wenki: Nonsense! I shan't let you. We have just made 
friends and now I'll keep you here. You'll like it, Gerda! 
I have a whole zoo here, you know: a reindeer, pigeons, 
dogs and guinea-pigs! But I like you better, Gerda, my 
new little pet! Do you want to see my reindeer? (Runs to 
a flap in the tent.) He's here. {She opens the flap, calling.) 
Come here! {Whistles.) It can speak! 

{The head of a Reindeer appears in the flap.) 

Gerda: It can speak? 

Wenki: Yes! Beautifully! It is a rare type from the far 

Gerda {hesitating): The far north? . . . Oh — may I ask 
him something? 

Wenki: Yes. Go on! Make him talk. 

Gerda: Reindeer ... do you know . . . where the land 
of the Snow Queen lies? . . . 

(Reindeer nods his head.) 

Wenki {furious): What's that? Hoi! Away with you! {She 
shuts the flap.) I shan't let you go there, Gerda — no — no 
— no! {Goes to tent entrance and calls.) Heh! You! You 
with the beard! 

Storyteller {appearing before the tent): What is it, little 

Wenki: Get a bed ready for my friend here! 

Storyteller: Aye, aye, little chief. 

Wenki {searching for a rope): And see that it's warm and 
soft! Straw and skins! and hurry up! 
{The Storyteller mumbles something and busies himself near 

Gerda {shrieks): Ai! 

Wenki: What's up? 

Gerda: He pulled my dress. * 



Wenki {to Storyteller): How dare you? 

Storyteller: I only shook a beetle off her dress. 

Wenki: Beetle! — I'll beetle you! Is the bed ready? Yes? 
Then get out! {She aims her pistol at him.) One . . . 

{The Storyteller runs off.) 
{Laughing.) How he runs! — But Gerda, now let's talk 
seriously: once and for all, I won't allow you to go. You 
must stay with me, and I shall tie you up with a triple 
secret robber knot to this tent-peg. {While doing it.) And 
don't cry or I shall shoot you, for I can't stand tears! 
{Kneels down and with kindness whispers to her.) You see, I 
would let you go — but just imagine — how could! part with 
you! How could I? Now don't answer back! Be good — 
lie down! . . . That's it. — You know, I always fall asleep 
at once. I do everything quickly. So must you. And 
don't try to undo the rope! Have you a knife? 

Gerda: No. 

Wenki {smiling)'. You don't need one either. {Kisses her.) 
Sleep well. {Rises and goes to the exit where she turns round 
once again whispering?) Good-night, my own little pet pig! 
{She goes off.) 

Gerda: Good-night! 

{Silence. It is now rather dark outside the tent and inside there 
burns only a small oil-lamp. Gerda turns on her bed — 
Oh! . . . {Softly.) Kay! . . . Kay! . . . 
{A shadow appears outside the tent. Somebody enters and creeps 

to Gerda; // is the Storyteller.) 
{Jumping up.) Who is it? 

Storyteller: Hush! I have come to save you! {Swinging 
his knife.) 

Gerda: Oh! 



Storyteller: Hush! (He cuts the rope.) 
Gerda: Who . . . who . . . are . . . you? 

(The Storyteller takes off his beard and false nose.) 
Storyteller: Gerda! 
Gerda: You? Mr. Storyteller! (In his arms.) How did 

you come here? 
Storyteller: I disguised myself as one of the robbers to 

try to keep them away from your coach. 
Gerda: But where did you get the beard and the nose? 
Storyteller: I've had them with me since I first followed 

the Chancellor. I always carry my nose in my pocket! 

Many noses! (He shows them to Gerda.) But now, let's 

run! We can get some horses in the next village . . . 

(Gerda and Storyteller hurriedly search the tent for 
Gerda' s belongings. But there are noises outside: human 
voices, laughter . . .) 

What's that? 
Gerda: The robbers coming back. 
(Steps outside.) 
Storyteller: Lie down! 

(Robber Woman and Robbers enter.) 
Robber Woman: What's that? 
Storyteller (forgetting to put on his beard, but acting the bad 

robber, turning to Gerda and roaring ferociously)-. Girrrl! 

If you move, I'll kill you! I've killed as many people as 

I have hairs in this long beard of mine! 
Robber Woman: Who's that? 

Storyteller: That? It's the little girl, she was trying . . . 
Robber Woman (interrupting and pointing at Storyteller): 

No— that! Who's that? 
Storyteller: What a question! That's me. Don't you 

recognise me, chief? 



Robber Woman {drily): No. 

Storyteller {aside): Crippety! — where is my beard? 

{Aloud.) I . . . I . . , I've shaved, chief. 
Barbro: Yes! — and you've shaved your nose off too! 
{The Storyteller involuntarily claps his hand to his nose, 
Excitement of the Robbers.) 
Robber Woman: Grab him! 
Robbers {throwing themselves upon the Storyteller): 

Traitor! Spy! Blood-hound! 
Gerda: Help! Help! 

(Wenki runs in with her pistol in hand.) 
Wenki: What's up? Who's dared to touch you? Who . . . 

Who's that? 
Gerda: My friend, the Storyteller. Don't kill him, please! 
He knows such beautiful stories, lots of them! And he 
came only to save me. 
Wenki: Save you? You wanted to run away? . . . 

{A. moment of silence?) 
Gerda: I would have left you a letter. 

{The Robbers laugh.) 
Wenki {almost crying with rage): Clear out! All of you! 
{^Throws herself on the Robbers.) And you, Mother, go! 
All — go! Go and divide your booty! Get out! 
{The Robbers laugh and exeunt with Robber Woman, 
driven off by Wenki. Gerda takes Storyteller by 
the hand and sits down with him in a corner of the 
{To them, looking down at Gerda, more calmly.) Oh, 
Gerda, Gerda, aren't you ashamed of yourself? 
Gerda: No, dear Wenki, no — forgive me. You see, I 

must try to find my friend, Kay . . . 
Wenki: Kay? 



Storyteller {confidentially): Yes, he was kidnapped by the 

Snow Queen . . . 
Gerda {looking up): Wenki! Please, do let me go. {No 

reply.) Then let me at least talk to the Reindeer. He may- 
have seen Kay. Do let me ask him another question. 
Storyteller: Do let her! 
Gerda: Please! 
Wenki {suddenly, after a short silence): Alright. But just 

one question. {She opens the flap.) Reindeer! Come 


{The Reindeer's head appears in the flap.) 
Gerda {getting up): Please, tell me, Reindeer — have you 

ever seen the Snow Queen? 

(Reindeer nods his head.) 

He has. . . . And . . . tell me . . . have you . . . ever . . . 

seen a little boy with her? . . . 

(Reindeer nods his head.) 
Gerda and Wenki: He has! {Grasping each other* s hands.) 
Gerda: He's seen him, seen him, too! 
Wenki: Tell us at once — where, when? 
Reindeer: I was running in the snowy fields ... It was 

very bright . . . and suddenly ... I saw . . . the Snow 

Queen passing ... I said to her . . . 'Good evening' . . . 

but she did not answer. . . . She was talking to a boy . . . 

'Kay,' she said . . . 
Gerda and Wenki {looking at each other): Kay! 
Reindeer: Great white birds drew their sledge. . . . And 

the boy smiled. . . . He looked white . . . and cold. . . . 
Gerda: You see, I knew it! He was white and cold! 

Wenki! Please, let me go, Wenki! 
Reindeer: Let her go. . . . 
Wenki: No, no. {She wants to shut the flap.) 



Reindeer: Let her go, let her go. . . . She can ride on my 
back ... to the Snow Queen's land. . . . There is my 
birthplace, too . . . and many reindeers run there quite 
free — over the white snow-fields. 

Wenki {after a silence, turning to Gerda): And you want 
to go? 

Gerda {nods): Yes. I must. 

{A long silence, Wenki looks at Gerda. Then she starts 
patting the Reindeer.) 

Wenki: He used to amuse me so much. . . . {Pulling her- 
self together.) Never mind. Here, take your fur coat, your 
fur cap and fur gloves. . . . No — I'll keep them; I like 
them so much. Take Mother's mittens instead. Here! 
You mustn't look so sad, you must look happy. But now, 
go! At once! Quickly! No, stop. Take my musical box. 
This musical box used to make me dance when I was too 
angry to speak. Then I was happy. Play it if you feel 
lonely on the white snow-fields. Now 

Gerda {kissing her): Thank you. 

Reindeer {withdrawing his head): Thank you. . . . 

Storyteller {approaching): Thank you. 

Wenki {to the Storyteller): You needn't thank me. You 
are going to stay and amuse me with stories till . . . Gerda 
. . . comes back. 

Storyteller: But I . . . 

Wenki: It's settled. {Quickly.) And now go, Gerda! 

Gerda {hesitating): Good-bye. I . . . 

Wenki {insistent): Go! Go! Before I change my mind! 
Quick! Go! 

(Gerda disappears into the night A silence during which we 
hear reindeer hoofs on snow.) 

{To Storyteller.) Why do you stand there gaping? Say 



something! Tell me a story, a funny story! If you don't 
make me laugh, I will . . . (Pointing pistol) One . . . 

Storyteller (hurriedly): Once upon a time, many years 
ago, there lived a snowman. He stood in the yard, in 
front of the kitchen window. And every time the kitchen 
stove spat fire the snowman trembled with fear. (Slowing 
down,) And one day he said . . . Poor girl . . . quite 
alone now when the ice cracks and groans and the ter- 
rible winds whistle. And in the midst of the icebergs 
lives the Snow Queen, who is so cruel . . . Oh . . . 
Gerda . . . She will be so lonely there . . . 

Wenki (rubbing the tears off her eyes): You were telling me 
... a story . . . what did . . . Gerda . . . the Snow Queen 
. . . the snowman ... do go on ... or I shall shoot . . . 
(Crying.) One . . . two . . . (She sobs.) 





Weird 'bird music*. Light slowly comes up on Gerda, who 
stands near Reindeer. They are looking out into the distance. 

Gerda: How cold it is out here! 

(Reindeer nods.) 

And how quiet, with nothing living . . . not even a tree. 
Reindeer {almost whispering): No one goes further north 

than this. 
Gerda: But we must go on. We must find Kay. 
Reindeer: We are in the Snow Queen's land now. It is 

dangerous here. 
Gerda: If you are afraid you may stay. I must go on. 
Reindeer: But you can see for yourself there is nothing 

there. . . . 
Gerda: Somewhere out there is Kay. The Ice Palace of 

the Snow Queen must be somewhere. 
Reindeer: But it is miles and miles and miles away. 
Gerda: In which direction? 
Reindeer: Straight to the north, where you see the cold 

light nickering in the sky. 
Gerda: Then I must go. 
Reindeer: Please, Gerda! No one who has gone to the 

Ice Palace has ever come back. 
Gerda: How will I recognise it? (Pause.) You must tell 

Reindeer (Sadly.) Oh! (realising she is determined): 

As you near the entrance you will come in sight 

of the Ice Birds and Bears. The Palace is white. 



Huge snowdrifts are its outer walls; 

and inside are a thousand halls, 

with mirrors of ice, where the Queen may see 

herself glide by, silently, 

from a thousand angles. 

The windows and doors 

are frozen winds and all the floors 

are ice a thousand metres deep; 

and the ceilings black clouds where the Queen keeps 

all the world's snow. 


{Continuing.) If Kay is in there — he may be dead. 
Gerda: No! I must hurry. 
Reindeer: If you must go, dear Gerda, go quickly now; 

for at this time the Snow Queen may be away, flying her 

black cloud to the warm south to sprinkle the moun- 
tains with snow. 

{Sigh of wind.) 

{Turning.) I cannot go with you. But I will wait by the 

red berry tree which stands just outside the Snow Queen's 

land. I shall wait for you till I die. 

{Fearfully.) Oh! Good-bye, Gerda! (Reindeer runs away.) 

Gerda {still looking north): Good-bye, Reindeer! {Pause.) 

I must not be afraid. Dear God, help me! Oh! Where 

the snow meets the sky I think I see something glittering. 

It must be . . . the Ice Palace. I am coming, Kay! 

Slowly and fearfully she begins to move to the north: the wind 
sighs and light fades on weird 'bird music\ 




As the light comes up slowly, we hear the 'bird music 9 . Then 

Kay is revealed seated on the ice throne of the Snow Queen. He 
is rigid except for his lips, which are moving. 

Kay {slowly in a cold monotone): Three million million 

thousands and one, and two, and three, four, five, six, 

seven, eight, nine . . . 

(Suddenly the weird music announcing the approach of the Snow 
Queen sounds again. She enters.) 
Snow Queen {smiling)'. Are you still thinking about your 

Kay: Yes. 

Snow Queen: Think about them while I am gone, Kay. 
Kay: Gone? 
Snow Queen: Yes, I must leave you all alone in my 

palace. But only for a very short time. I shall fly on my 

black cloud far, far away to the warm south, to sprinkle 

the mountain-tops with snow. 
Kay: Three thousand miles to the south. 
Snow Queen: How clever you are. With your brain and 

your heart of ice. . . . {Suddenly with anxiety.) Do you feel 

Kay: No. 

Snow Queen: Really not? 
Kay: No. 
Snow Queen: I must kiss you again so that your heart 

does not melt while I am away. 



(She kisses him and he freezes still more.) 
You are mine, for ever and always! 
Kay (dully): Always. 

Snow Queen (to herself): No one shall take you from 
me . . . My polar bears and my ice birds guard the door 
— and even if any creatures passed them, they would 
never find their way to you, through all the thousand 
empty icy halls of my palace. . . . (Then aloud again.) 
Now, polar wind, come and cut through these icy walls 
. . . and carry me away — to the south! 
(She begins to dance, generating the speed of the north wind — 
then she sweeps through the walls. The music ends abruptly 
and there is silence. Kay sits motionless and thinks and 
thinks. Suddenly Gerda's voice is heard far away and 
echoing through the palace.) 
Gerd a (off and distant): Ka-ay! Ka-ay! 
(Kay does not seem to hear.) 
(Nearer.) Ka-ay! Ka-ay! 

(Kay still does not move.) 
(Still nearer.) Ka-ay! 

(Gerda comes in.) 
(Murmuring, as she crosses and searches without seeing the 
immobile Kay.) How cold it is. I won't get frozen! I 
won't get frozen! 

(She turns, about to go, when she sees Kay.) 
(Gerda runs to him and is about to climb up the steps and 

throw her arms around him when she stops aghast.) 
(In a hushed voice.) Kay . . . What is it? You are not 
... all frozen ... to death? Kay! Speak to me! Kay, 
say something! Say my name. Say . . . 'Gerda'. 
Kay (in dead tones): 'Gerda.' 

6 5 


Gerda: You can speak! Oh, Kay, it is really you! You are 
so changed. Say it's really you, say 'Gerda, I am real'. 

Kay (in same tone): 'Gerda, I am real.' Go. 

Gerda: Kay, how can you speak to me like that? If you 
only knew how I have walked and walked and searched 
and gone through haunted castles and robbers' camps 
and past enormous polar bears . . . 

Kay: Go! I am thinking. 

Gerda: What are you thinking? 

Kay: Figures — until the Snow Queen comes back. 

Gerda (terrified): The Snow Queen! — Kay, do come with 
me, out of this icy place. . . . Don't you remember how 
good life was at home? Kay — have you forgotten every- 

Kay: I forget nothing. 

Gerda: Then you must remember . . . how we played 
together, hide and seek . . . and . . . and how we used to 
bathe in the river on a sunny day; and we'd lie and dry on 
the warm meadow; and how you laughed when I got 
frightened of the ants and caterpillars when they crept 
over my neck. 

Kay: Go, you make me feel cold. 

Gerda: Since you've been away I can swim now; but with 
one foot on the bottom. 

Kay: I feel cold. Leave me! I must think! 

Gerda (quickly following up advantage): Kay, remember 
home and our garret, with the stove you used to light, 
and the rose-tree . . . 

Kay: The rose-tree? 

Gerda: And Granny, and Mr. Storyteller! 

Kay (falsely): No! I remember nothing! I don't know 
you! (In panic.) Two million million . . . 

6 4 


Gerda: Kay — don't you remember how we looked down 
into the street, and . . . and the song of our old organ- 
grinder? (She sings.) 

Now the frost grips all the earth, 

The birds begin to cry 

Tears which fall 

And freeze till all 

As snow-flakes fill the sky. 

So all the snow-flakes 
Are tears that are silently 
Gliding by . . . 

For unless 

God's sun will bless 

Our Earth, the birds must die . . . 

(Little by little, Kay is drawn to the song and finally is hum- 
ming it with Gerda — whose singing turns into weeping. As 
her tears fall on his hands, Kay suddenly moves them to his 
Kay: I feel so cold. . . . What is happening to us? 
Gerda {looking up at Kay — then realising that he is awake)'. 

Kay! (She throws her arms around his neck.) Kay, you are 

Kay again, the old Kay! 
Kay: I want to go home! Oh, Gerda! Take me home. 

You know the way. Gerda, don't cry! 
Gerda: I am happy, Kay! 
Kay: Gerda! Help me down, Gerda! Take me away 

before the Snow Queen comes! . . . Oh, I can't walk . . . 
Gerda: You must. Try! Lean on me. . . . Try! Try! 
Kay: I'm trying. 

65 F 


Gerda: See! . . . You can. . . . That's it! . . . That's it! 
See. . . . Now you can walk by yourself. . . . Come! . . . 
Come! . . . I know the way to the palace door. If we can 
get past the bears out there, the Reindeer will be waiting 
for us. He is waiting on the snow-field by the bush with 
the red berries. If only we can reach him in time he will 
carry us away ... to the south. Hurry! 

Kay (as he moves painfully out): We are going back ... (In 
a sort of wonder.) . . . Home . . . 

They go slowly, both humming the song of the organ-grinder. 
The lights fade. 





The light slowly returns. A. kind of huge iceberg appears in an 
unreal light. A dark hole can be seen leading into the ice. Near this 
''door* there are Polar Bears guarding the entrance. Fantastic 
Birds are sitting on a rock of ice. Gerda and Kay appear from 
inside the dark hole in the ice— peeping out at the Bears, with 
a worried expression. 

Gerda (in a whisper): They are awake. If only you could 

run we would get past. 

(GBRT>Apulls Kay through the hole — they quickly run past the 
Bears. Gerda carries a bundle. Kay is looking at the 
Kay (amazed): Gerda . . . look . . . the sky . . . the sky . . . 

real sky! 
Gerda (worried): Yes, Kay, yes, but come as quickly as 

you can — and don't speak. 

(They move slowly forward. The Bears move and look up.) 

Oh! (Stopping.) They have seen us, Kay. It's too late . . . 

(The Bears stare at Gerda and Kay and get up slowly.) 
Kay: Gerda, bears — real live bears! 
Gerda: Oh! Please, dear bears, don't touch us now. It 

wouldn't be fair, because, you see, Kay can't run. 

(But the Bears approach — Gerda tries to shield Kay with 
her body, retreating slowly \ while Kay is not really aware of 
any danger) 

Oh dear! What can we do now? If only I could please 

them somehow. (The Bears still come on. Gerda clutches 

6 7 


her bundle anxiously — she feels the musical box in the bundle?) 

Ah! The musical box! The musical box, which Wenki 

gave me! (Searching feverishly?) Where is it? — where . . . 

ah, here. . , . Quick — quick. (Begins to play the musical 

box.) Dance, dear bears — dance. . . . 

(The Bears stop in their advance and begin to turn slowly?) 
Kay: Music . . . Gerda, music . . . (Waving his hands to 

the time, he looks at his fingers.) Oh! My fingers can move! 


(The Birds start moving to the rhythm o/Gerda's music, and 
sing. The Bears dance?) 

(Seeing the Bears.) The bears are dancing, Gerda! They 

are dancing!! They are happy. I am happy. If only I 

could dance too. 

(Kay in his joyful excitement begins to beat time, first only 
with one hand, then clapping both. Slowly his body begins to 
move, he stamps his still half paralysed feet which gradually 
move more and more freely. Then he starts jumping until — 
a real boy — he falls into a kind of folk-dance, shouting with 
ioy. He has become the centre of the scene. The Birds have 
stopped their singing, the Bears their dancing, they only 
stamp to the rhythm of Kay's dance. They all look at Kay 
and gradually become affected by his outbursts of happiness. 
Gerda laughs, the animals shout — it is a scene of general 
Gerda: Isn't he funny, bears? (She laughs?) Oh, Kay, 

stop it — stop it. (She stops playing?) 

(The Bears growl, the Birds chatter.) 

We must go quickly, Kay, and you are quite hot, silly 

boy, and out of breath. You'll catch cold. (While she 

binds her scarf around his neck.) Won't he, bears? 
(The Bears nod.) 


Kay {patting them): Oh! I love the bears. I love everyone. 

{Suddenly the sky is overcast.) 
Gerda {looking up): Oh! A great black cloud is approach- 
ing. {Suddenly.) Kay! If this is the Snow Queen! We'd 
better run. Come! 
Kay: Good-bye, bears! 
Gerda: Good-bye, birds! 

{The wind suddenly grows very loud.) 
Kay {stops Gerda, he listens): Gerda! . . . The Snow 
Queen! The Snow Queen is coming! 
{The wind howls louder. Gerda and Kay crouch closely 
together, while the Bears stand and shield them. Suddenly 
something appears amidst the falling flakes . . . whirls 
across the stage . . . and disappears through the wall of ice 
into the palace: it is the Snow Queen. A long silence?) 
(^Whispering?) The Snow Queen! 
Gerda {whispering too): If only you could run fast! 
Kay! But I can! See, I can run like the wind! {Joyfully 
running off.) I can run! I can run! {Off.) Come on, Gerda! 
Gerda {shouting after him and following): To the south, 

Kay! To the bush with the red berries! 
Kay {in distance): Run! Run! 

{A new gust of wind . . . and then there is a call in the distance 
— the call of the Snow Queen.) 
Snow Queen {off stage): Kay. . . . (J? hen louder?) Kay? . . . 
{And finally a scream?) Kay! 
{The Snow Queen appears in the palace entrance . . . she 

stops there?) 
{After a long silence?) Kay. . . . 

The light slowly dies, 

6 9 


The wind heard in the dark is still howling as the light returns. 

The Storyteller enters, followed by Wenki. Both are appar- 
ently fighting against the wind. 

Storyteller (sighing): Gerda. . . . Will we ever find her? 

Oh, my poor tired feet! 
Wenki: Stop moaning! — One more sigh out of you and 

(drawing her knife) — say good-bye to life! (Turning away.) 
(Great sigh from Storyteller.) 

You! . . . (Speechless.) 
Storyteller: I can't help it! It's my feet that sigh — not 

me. They're so tired of me — just like you. 

(Wenki laughs, so does Storyteller as he sits down.) 
Wenki (sitting down near him): Oh! Can't you do some- 
thing to find her. 
Storyteller: Perhaps now the winter is over . . . 
Wenki: Perhaps! Always 'Perhaps'! We should not have 

come back to the King's castle. We should have gone on 

to the North. 
Storyteller: Perhaps! 
Wenki: Oh! Don't sit there and . . . 
Storyteller (listening): Sh! Sh! Did you hear something? 

(We hear the ( Kra-Kra y of a Raven. The Raven appears, 
unnoticed by the two, and stands watching them. It is Karl, 
now wearing a ribbon around his chest.) 
Wenki: No. You're imagining things. You are always 



imagining things. {Looking up.) Ugh — this spring! It's 

Karl: A rkzsty March, yes. 

(Storyteller and Wenki jump and turn round.) 
Storyteller: But . . . it's Karl! Surely it's Karl! 
Karl {nodding and hopping about)-. Karl, Karl, for my 

fr/ends I'm always Karll — For others I am now an 

'Excellency'! (Proudly arranging the ribbon with his beak.) 

'Excellency K/?rP, isn't that grand? (Proudly giggling.) 

Storyteller: His Excellency Karl. May I introduce you 

to Miss Wenki — a friend of Gerda. (Bowing grandly.) 
Karl (bowing): Glad — gLzd — gkd — to have met you! 
Wenki (with a little curtsey)-. How do you do? 
Storyteller: And how are you all? 
Karl: Yiah . . . Klara and I are rrwried. 
Storyteller: Congratulations. 
Karl: ^4nd travelling with Klaus and Christina. 
Storyteller: So that's why we didn't find any of you at 

the castle. 
Karl: Yes. Klaus has commanded the whole army to 

make one massive search p^rty, to find Gerda. Ah! Our 

Prince has a pkn! 
Storyteller: And what is your part in the plan? 
Karl (with modesty): I just hover in advance resting 

gknces over the land. 
Storyteller: And have you found anything? 
Karl: Rather! 

Storyteller and Wenki (eagerly): What? 
Karl: I have found you. 
Wenki (disappointed): Oh! (Storyteller sits again.) No 

one's getting anywhere! I can't stand it! 



Karl (tragically): Y^s, in tact — when you mark — that 
months are passing — and nothing happens — it shatters 
one's nerves in unb^zrable fashion. . . . (Changing mood.) 
Hahahal Don't I talk grandly? 

Wenki (rudely): Pah! 

(Karl is hurt.) 

Storyteller (amused): It's alright, Karl. You are 
wonderful, a true court raven! (Very formally.) Would 
you be good enough to lead us to their Royal Highnesses? 

Karl: And KAara, and Klaral They are not tar! 

Storyteller: And Klara, of course. Do fly ahead of us, 

Karl (sharply): I do not 'fly'. An 'Exctfllmcy' does not 
'fly'-— he hovers. 

Storyteller: Sorry, please 'hover' ahead! 

Karl (bowing to Wenki): Ladies first! 

Wenki: Thank you . . . sir. (Goes off.) 

Storyteller: After you, Karl. 

Karl: Ahti you — #fter you! 

Storyteller (bowing again): No really, after you, Mr. 

Karl: lifter you — #fter you! 

Storyteller: Oh — you are just too kind, your Excel- 
lency! (Exit with jet another bow.) 

Karl (very pleased): Haven't we marvellous manners? — 

(Swelling with pride he follows the others. The stage is empty for 
a moment. Another gust of wind. Then Kay enters quickly, 
from where Storyteller and Wenki entered before?) 

Kay: Raven! Raven! (He stops, disappointed.) There he 
flies. . . . (Calling back.) Here, Gerda! . . . Do hurry 
up! . . . 



(Gerda enters, very tired. — The wind howls.) 

Gerda: I can't (Kay runs to help her.) 

Kay: Come on, just a bit further. Try! There must be 
a house somewhere. There was a raven but it flew off 
before I could ask it the way. 

Gerda: A raven? (Wondering.) No, it couldn't be. There 
are thousands of ravens. I am so tired. Since the Rein- 
deer left us . . . 

Kay: Ah! What a fine ride that was! 

Gerda: Yes — but since then we have been running and 
hiding so, and hiding and running that now I can't go 
another step — not even if the Snow Queen is on our 
tracks. I've never seen so many dark threatening snow 
clouds in all my life. 

Kay: We shall leave them behind. Spring is coming, 
Gerda! And summer! Think of that and try to struggle 

Gerda: If we'd only found Wenki at the robbers' camp, 
or the Prince and Princess at the castle. . . . Where can 
they all be? 

Kay {after a look at the sky): Gerda, I'm afraid that some- 
thing fresh is brewing! 

(It gets dark — rather quickly.) 

Gerda: Oh! The Snow Queen? Again? 

Kay: Come — we'll hide in that thicket! (He leads her to it.) 
Lean on me! Good Gerda! 

(The children hide. The wind now reaches a new pitch of 
violence. The Chancellor appears. He has his eyes gluea 
to the ground. Whenever he comes near the thicket the 
children duck behind it.) 

Chancellor (humming): Twice two is four, everything is 
going well . . . twice two is four. Aha! Tracks in the 

73 f* 


snow! Two feet of the boy — two feet of the girl — twice 
two is . . . (Speaking) No . . . there are twice four feet 
. . . twice four is . . . (He counts the tracks) . . . eight! — 
Where have they gone to? . . . (He studies the footprints 
of Gerda and Kay.) Here? Yes! (Going where he will 
discover Gerda and Kay.) . . . Or . . . (On Wenki's and 
Storyteller's track.) Ah! They've gone here! (Follow- 
ing tracks of Wenki and Storyteller.) Haha! We'll find 
you! (Calling) Come, Snow Queen! (Exit l.) 
Kat: Come, Gerda, hurry, hurry! 

They exit. The wind continues to howl. 




Granny's garret looking almost as in the first scene. Only now 
there is no snow on the roofs. It is a clear April day, drawing to 
its close; soon it will start getting dark. There are no flowers on 
the rose-tree. 

The room is empty. After a short time quick steps on the stair. 
There is a knock at the door, loud, impatient . . . another knock. 
. . . The door opens: Wenki looks into the room, enters. 

Wenki (out of breath): Gerda! Gerda! (She quickly goes 
through the room and looks into the adjoining room — dis- 
appointed^) Oh! 

(The Prince enters running, out of breath too.) 

Prince: Is she here? 

Wenki: No. 

(Quick steps outside, four feet this time, and the Story- 
teller enters with the Princess.) 

Storyteller: Found her? 

Prince: Not yet. 

Princess: What did I say! If you had only listened. . . . 

Wenki (suddenly)-. Look! (She rushes to the table?) A letter! 
(She reads with difficulty?) 'Chi-1-dr-en.' 

Prince (snatching it from her and continuing)-. . . . 'There are 
rolls in the cupboard, butter, cream and honey. Eat and 
don't wait for me. I hope you will come today. It has 
been so sad without you. Granny.' 

Princess: What did I tell you? (She turns aivay towards the 
window.) Gerda never came back. 



Storyteller: That's that. (He sighs and looks at the 
withered rose-tree?) 

(A long silence. Twilight.) 

Prince: It's getting dark. 

Storyteller: Granny should be home soon. 

(The Ravens suddenly alight on the window-sill.) 

Karl: Kkra — this is G^rda's Granny's window! 

Klara: Darling Karl disctfwred it at once. 

Karl: Ha-ha\ 

Klara: Lively! 

Karl: Grand! — Grand! 

Prince (crossly to the Ravens): Stop your chattering! 
Gerda and Kay are still lost. 

Karl: S^d — 

Klara: S^d — 

Both: Akrming — 

Klara: Sad — 

Karl: S^d — 

Klara: Sad — 

Both: ALzrming — 

Karl: S^d! 

Wenki (loudly): Shut up! — Or I'll shoot you! Yes, I shall! 

Both (almost inaudible): AWming — sad . . . 

(A long silence. The Storyteller rises and lights the lamp.) 

Storyteller: It's quite dark. 

Wenki (to Storyteller): Oh stop moaning! If only your 
stupid feet hadn't moaned so much we would have got 
to the Far North and found her. Oh Crappity! Why 
didn't I go myself! I'll go now. I'm not afraid of the 
Snow Queen. I'll lead a new expedition to the North 
Pole itself. I'll track Gerda's footprints in the snow and 
far, far, far away up on the icy top of the World. . . . 



Storyteller {interrupting her)*. . . . Shsh! {He gets to his 

{They all listen to hurried footsteps coming up the stair. The 
door flies open and Granny come s in.) 

Granny: Children! You, back at last! Kay! Gerda! 
{She stops.) Oh! {Pause.) No. . . . {hooking round.) Two 
ravens? A Prince and Princess? And . . . Ah! Mr. 
Storyteller! {She runs to the Storyteller.) Mr. Story- 
teller, you have brought me news of Kay and Gerda? 
They are coming? {Pause.) Where are they? 

Storyteller {awkwardly): Well . . . Granny ... I'm 
afraid we don't know. As a matter of fact ... we didn't 
find them. 

Granny {gently): Oh! {She sits down in silence as they all 
watch her, miserably.) Every evening when I come home, 
and see our dark window from the yard, I think: perhaps 
they have come, and are only tired, and have fallen asleep. 
. . . And I go up — run into the room — nobody's there. 
I look into every corner — perhaps they are hiding, just 
to surprise me — nobody! . . . But tonight I saw the 
window lit. Thirty years fell off my shoulders, and I 
ran upstairs, came in . . . and the thirty years are back 
on me. . . . {She rises.) 

Wenki {in a temper): Sit down, Grandmother, dear 
Granny, and don't make me weep. I hate it! Sit down, 
or else I shall shoot everybody with my pistol! 
(Wenki points pistol at everybody. Granny quickly sits 

{Continuing, warmly.) Don't be afraid, Granny. Every- 
body except you, of course. 

Granny {smiling): Now I recognise you from Mr. Story- 
teller's letter. . . . You are Wenki the Robber Girl. . . . 



But now you must sit down comfortably like Karl and 

Karl and Klara: Ha-ia\ 

Granny: I shall make you some tea. You must not look 
so sad. Everything will turn out all right. 

Storyteller (sadly): Perhaps. 

Granny: They will come back soon. 

Storyteller (sadly): Perhaps. 

Wenki (losing her temper again): Perhaps!! {Thumping the 
table with her fist?) Don't just sit there saying, 'Perhaps! 
Perhaps!' I can't stand it! I won't stand it! Do some- 
thing! Tell us a story, if that's all you're good for. Tell 
us a story to make us feel gay or . . . One! ... A happy 
one. . . . Two! ... A good one. . . . (Aiming pistol?) 

Storyteller (quickly): Once-upon-a- time- there- were . . 
some steps — in fact a lot of steps, a whole family of 
them; and taken all together they became a stair. And 
they lived all together in a large house, stretching from 
the basement up to the attic. Now, the first-floor steps used 
to squeak boastfully to the second-floor steps, and the 
second-floor steps boasted to the third-floor steps . . . 
and so on. But when it came to the last steps leading to 
the attic they had no one above them to boast to. So 
they squeaked to themselves, 'We are the highest steps 
of all, and we are nearest the sky.' But, on the whole, 
they got along well together and creaked loudly and 
happily when somebody walked upstairs. (He stops.) 
Listen! . . . Granny. . . . Children. . . . Listen! Our 
steps are creaking now. . . . Somebody is coming. . . . 
Listen! . . . The fifth-floor steps are creaking. . . . They 
are coming! (Creaking steps — then silence?) 
(They all get up expectantly.) 



They must have reached the top. They are out there 
now, and going to surprise us. I'm sure they . . . 
(The door bursts open and the Snow Queen and the Chan- 
cellor come in. The Ravens disappear from the window?) 
Snow Queen [breaking the silence)-. Where is Kay? Give 

me the boy — or I shall turn you all into ice. 
Granny: But . . . the boy isn't here. . . . 
Snow Queen (fiercely): You are hiding him here some- 
where. I feel it. (Moving about restlessly?) Kay! Come 
out! I have come for you. You belong to me now. 
Kay! . . . Kay! 

(The Chancellor who has been searching the rooms comes 
back in.) 
Chancellor: The boy is not here. 
Snow Queen: Not here? (Then she smiles.) Then I know 
where to find him. (Gliding towards door.) And when I 
find him I will . . . 

(Wenki throws herself against the door, cutting off the Snow 
Queen. The Prince and Princess follow suit and all 
three join hands, courageously barring the Snow Queen's 
Wenki: No! 

Prince and Princess: No! 

Snow Queen (stopping): Remember — I have only to wave 
my hand, and complete silence will reign here — for 
Wenki: Wave away! We'll not let you leave this room! 
Prince and Princess: No! 

(The Snow Queen looks towards the window. She waves her 
hand and for a moment the wind howls and the light flickers. 
The Snow Queen swiftly moves to the window — but the 
children arrive there first and bar the window.) 



Prince: You shan't find Kay! 

(The door opens, Kay and Gerda are standingjust inside the 
Snow Queen (triumphantly): Shan't I! Kay! 
The Children: Gerda! 
Granny and Storyteller: Kay! 
Snow Queen: Kay . . . now you will come back with 

Kay and Gerda: No. 

Snow Queen: You must come back with me. 
Kay (advances one step): Go! 

Snow Queen (in cold fury): Would you defy me? If you 
come another step I shall cut you to pieces with my north 

(Kay takes another step. The Snow Queen waves her hands 
— the light flickers — the wind howls more than ever before — 
the light becomes normal again. Kay stands unperturbed^) 
Kay, you are mine. 
Kay (advancing another step): You must go! 
Snow Queen: Haah! . . . 

(She cries out in anger and frustration, and waves her hand. 
There is a sudden darkness — the sound of broken glass — the 
lamp goes out — the wind howls and whistles?) 
Wenki (in the dark): Close the window! Hold the door. 
Prince and Princess (in the dark): We're holding it! 
Granny: Don't be frightened! I'll light the lamp! I'll 
light the lamp! 

(As she lights the lamp, they see that the Snow Queen and 
the Chancellor have gone; Wenki and the Prince and 
Princess guard the door and Kay stands where he was.) 
All: Oh! 

Gerda (running to him): Kay! 



Princess: Where has she gone? 

Klara {appearing at the window): Her Majesty . . . 

Karl {appearing at the window): . . . And His Excellency. 

Klara: They have departed rather hurriedly, going 

northwards on a black cloud. 
Karl: On a bkck cloud. 
Wenki: Hurrah! We defeated them. 
Karl and Klara: Hutrahl Hmtahl 
Granny: Oh! How glad I am! 
Kay and Gerda: Granny! {They rush to her arms.) 

We're back! 
Gerda: He had a heart of ice but it melted! 
Kay: And then I danced with polar bears . . . 
Gerda: . . . and then we ran and ran . . . 
Kay: . . . and we rode on the back of a reindeer, 

Granny: And you're back! And you're back. {Hugging 

Wenki: I'm so happy I'll cry ... if I don't dance or do 

something. . . . 
Prince and Princess: Kay! Gerda! 

{They all join hands and dance round Kay and Gerda. The 
music of the organ-grinder' } s tune comes into the dance?) 
Storyteller {suddenly): Look! Look! 

(He points to the roses and they all stop and look.) 
Granny: Our rose-tree! It's flowering again! 

(They all look at it.) 
Princess: But how beautiful! 

(Organ-grinder's tune continues.) 
Granny: What can it mean? 
Storyteller: It can only mean one thing: that we are all 

going to be happy together again. 



Granny: And look! 

Storyteller: What next? 

Granny: The kettle is boiling! Tea! Tea, children! 

All: Tea! 

{They all gather round the fire, chattering and getting cups while 
the Storyteller comes forward on tip toe doing his own 
little dance. The organ-grinder's music fades.) 
Storyteller {quietly to the audience): That's that! 
Gerda {suddenly noticing his absence): Mr. Storyteller! 
Granny: Mr. Storyteller! Don't you want your tea? 
Storyteller: Did I ever refuse a cup of tea? No! But 

first I have something to do. I have finished my story 

happily; but remember this is not just a story — it's a play! 

And my friends are still watching me out there. {Pointing 

into the audience.) 
Gerda: What friends? 
Storyteller: Out there! The people who watched you. 

See! They are still watching, and they won't go away till 

I say so. Nothing can happen without me. 
Gerda: Can't I say good-bye to them too? 
Storyteller: Perhaps, but after me. 
Kay {eagerly): Can I say good-bye? 
Storyteller: Yes, perhaps, but . . . 
Wenki: Can I . . .? {The children gradually push forward.) 
Storyteller: Yes, but . . . 
Granny: Let's all say good-bye! 
Storyteller {controlling the pushing children): Alright, 

alright! But it is my play and I am going to end it my 

All: What way? 

{The Storyteller gathers them all around him.) 
Storyteller: Ready! With me! 



{They all dance.) 
Snip! Snap! Snooper! 
All: Pooper! Bazalooper! 
Storyteller : Snip! Snap! Snooper! 



Composed by Henry Boys 


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Snip, snap, snoo-frer foo-per ba-ja-loo-per 

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Snip, snap, snoo-per Crip-pe-h),crap-pc-h),booin! 



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Now the frost- grif>s all the earth-, The birds be-cjin - to 
Tears which faii - and fireeje till all - As snow fla fees fill - the 


(Repeat tune) 

cr B* So a(( - tfie snow flakes are tears Mat are 


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Si-(ent'(tj ^(i - ding bij 

for unless -Clod's 

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sun will bless- our earth Tfee birds- must die 



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